Affordable Housing is a hot topic in the metro area, especially since housing prices have skyrocketed. Hyattsville needs smart development and redevelopment to ensure a variety of price-points. That means preserving the feel of neighborhoods, but also utilizing areas of greater density in appropriate places. Our diversity is a part of what makes Hyattsville what it is, and lopsided development will have a lasting effect on the character of the neighborhood. Careful planning would ensure that we develop cohesive neighborhoods without stark socio-economic divisions.
A barrier to realizing this goal is lack of planning authority at the municipal level. I believe the city should research a path forward to secure this authority for Hyattsville. This will require permission from the state, so Hyattsville councilmembers will have to get county and state representatives on board with any plan. It will be difficult and a years-long process, but the result will afford Hyattsville the ability to plan for and realize a vision for the future when it comes to development.
Additionally, Hyattsville should expand on the state and county property tax credits. Homeowners can take advantage of the Homestead tax credit, which caps property tax assessment increases to 10% or less per year. Residents on fixed incomes can also apply for the Homeowners tax credit, and Hyattsville will offer an additional credit for those that qualify. In order to allow our seniors to age in place, there should be a much higher cap on savings for those over 65, as for many property taxes significantly draw on the savings that they will depend on for the rest of their lives, and inflation and price increases are currently far outpacing interest rates on those savings.
However, given the current issues in recruiting police and teachers, I believe the city can do more to offer affordability to those important public servants. Tax credits for police officers and teachers would allow the city’s police department to incentivize officers to live in Hyattsville or recruit from Hyattsville residents, which should help with retention and the overall character of our police force. Credits for public school teachers will help keep local, gifted educators in schools that serve Hyattsville students.
What do you think? How would a city tax credit change your ability to stay in Hyattsville? What kinds of credits make the most sense to you?