TAKOMA PARK, MD – After years of neglecting to refund tax dollars that Takoma Park residents pay the county for services that the city provides, Montgomery County officials decided to keep the duplicate funds and, instead, duplicated the government services provided in Takoma Park.
“We know it’s unfair to tax Takoma Park twice, but acknowledging that will make us look weak and encourage other municipalities to ask for more of their money back, too,” said Montgomery County Chief Administrative Officer Rich Madaleno. “Instead, we’ll use the money to provide Takoma Park with twice the amount of government, which we all know is what they really want anyway.”
According to city officials, Montgomery County owes Takoma Park $5 million in duplicated taxes for city-provided services such as police, trash collection, and road repair and maintenance. Had the county agreed, the rebated amount could have easily funded much of the city’s progressive wish list, including providing new bike lanes, painting more controversial murals, and repaving Flower Avenue all over again.
Unfortunately for Takoma Park, Montgomery County has its own priorities for the funds. Rather than rebate the taxes, the county will replicate all Takoma Park government agencies and run them with identical county services. That means the city will find itself in direct competition with the county over replicated services, including free mulch, an alternative 4th of July parade, and a county arborist that will offer second opinions on tree removal requests rejected by the city arborist. Also, retiree crossing guards from the city and county will compete with each other to earn the opportunity to help pedestrians cross local streets.
The county also plans to purchase private land to build a new public parking lot so that Takoma Park residents have another proverbial sword to die on should any development be proposed on it. This, of course, will require a new six-member county-run city council to vote on the project, as well as a county-employed city manager to take verbal abuse from residents.
While some Takoma Park residents welcomed competition for services, it was clear most felt taken advantage of. “This is not at all what we were asking for,” said Ben Parker. “We’ve been working so hard to defund the police, and now this place is going to be crawling with cops!”
The proposed government service duplication has already begun implementation this week. The Montgomery County Council recently appointed a new bizzaro-mayor, Stuart Kate, and the city’s welcome sign now reads “Welcome to Takoma Takoma Park Park.”