Community Banks in Prince George's County

Investing in Main Street and Your Family: Prince George’s County Adopts Policy to Invest in Local, Small, and Minority-Owned Banks


Last week, the County Council finished putting in place a new “Jobs First” policy (initially adopted last year) that requires at least 50% of County funds, your tax dollars, to be deposited in local community banks – Local, Small, or Minority-Owned Banks with branch locations in Prince George’s County.  Lending by community banks serves the interests of “Main Street” – small businesses and nonprofits, middle class jobs, and local wealth creation – not Wall Street.  We are investing more public dollars in our local, small, and minority-owned banks because these main street banks invest in our local community and tax base, creating jobs and generating revenue for critical services like schools, safety, transportation, and services for seniors and youth.

While we are investing in Main Street here in Prince George’s County, Donald Trump and the Republican Congress on Capitol Hill are trying to give another bailout to Wall Street.  The Republican Tax “Reform” Plans will take away critical tax deductions for middle class families, like the personal and dependent exemptions, offsets for state and local income and property taxes, deductions for medical devices, and the lifetime learning education tax credit, while limiting the mortgage interest deduction.  All of this will pay for permanent tax breaks for Donald Trump and Wall Street, which, the Trump Administration claims, will trickle down to the rest of us.

Here on Main Street, we know better than that because we have seen this playbook before.  The choice is clear – do we empower Main Street and the middle class or do we give more tax bailouts to Wall Street through 1980s-style “trickle down economics?”  Join me and choose Main Street and resist Donald Trump by supporting the Jobs First Movement and my campaign for Council At-Large here:

Have a Wonderful Thanksgiving!

Don’t forget that this Saturday is “Small Business Saturday”:  Please support Prince George’s County’s small, minority, and woman-owned businesses!

And please support Giving Tuesday on Nov. 28!:




Prince George’s County is home to the largest number of veterans in the State of Maryland, numbering approximately 60,000.  Our veterans and their families come from all walks of life, all races and creeds.  They don’t seek accolades or celebration.  They are heroes.  And, a part of their heroism is their humility.  They retain a special bond with each other and sometimes difficult memories of the obstacles they have faced and lost brothers and sisters on the battlefield.  They are the great defenders of our freedoms and our way of life.  Let us ensure that, when our veterans come home from their tenures of service, we look out for them the way they and their families have looked out for us.  Thank you for your service.  Prince George’s County gives you the honor and respect that you deserve, not just this one day in November, but every day, every year.  Let’s also extend a special prayer for all of our men and women in uniform currently in the field, in harms way, and for their families.

-Mel Franklin



State of Maryland Veterans Resource Guide:

UMUC Veterans-Trusted Resource Guide:

U.S. Veterans National Resource Directory (NRD):

Prince George’s County Commission for Veterans:

State Dept of Housing New Carrollton Groundbreaking



Multiyear Incentive Effort Lands United States Citizenship and Immigration Headquarters with 3,700 Employees and New Retail Amenities; Construction to be Completed in 2020

In 2012, in the wake of the Great Recession, I had the privilege of joining with my Council colleagues and the County Executive to establish a major tax incentive plan with our private sector partners for one of our most critical metro station areas, the Branch Avenue Metro Station in Camp Springs.  While this transit-oriented development site had been hit hard by the housing crisis, its (i) close proximity to the District, (ii) available land near a convenient metro station, and (iii) untapped development potential provided a tremendous opportunity to be a major future economic destination, especially for a prominent federal agency.

Five years later, after multiple follow-up efforts, I am pleased to announce that these years of hard work have paid off and Prince George’s County has won the bid to become the home of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Headquarters, an agency of the Department of Homeland Security, bringing 3,700 federal employees and new retail and residential amenities to the Branch Avenue Metro Station.  Since this will be a major federal lease of a private development, it will be a long-term boost to our tax base and its construction will create opportunities for small, minority and woman-owned businesses in the county and local hiring.

Prince George’s County is home to a quarter of the region’s federal workforce — more than 75,000 workers — yet only has 4 percent of federal leased space, with half of that space being warehouses and storage facilities.  After being overlooked for many, many years by federal agencies in our region, this time, Prince George’s County sent the message that those days are over!

This achievement is exactly what the Jobs First Movement and my campaign for Council-At Large is all about – creating economic destinations in Prince George’s County in signature industries that matter, like the Federal Sector.  Together, we are writing the next great chapter in Prince George’s County’s story.  Be a part of it!  Join the Jobs First Movement

Media Article on the USCIS Project Coming to Prince George’s County





Reminder: County Council Education Town Hall Meeting, October 23, 7PM-9PM

The County Council is hosting an Education Town Hall meeting this evening from 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. at the County Administration Building, 14741 Gov. Oden Bowie Drive, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772.  This event will feature Dr. Kevin Maxwell and include a discussion about the Council’s performance audit of the school system.  Please come out and make your voices heard!  If you are not able to attend in person, you can also watch this town hall live via on-line streaming here (or archived video later):


Public Meeting on Governor Hogan’s MAGLEV High Speed Rail Proposal, October 24, 5PM-8PM

The next open house on Governor Larry Hogan’s controversial MAGLEV high speed rail proposal will take place on Tuesday, October 24, from 5PM – 8PM at Laurel High School, 8000 Cherry Ln, Laurel, MD 20707.  The County Council received a briefing from the private partner the State has approved for the MAGLEV project last Tuesday and raised some serious concerns.  You can view that briefing here (my comments begin at 4:41:09).

Read the WTOP article on the Council’s MAGLEV briefing:


Planning Board Public Meetings on the Zoning Rewrite in Prince George’s County, Oct. 24, 25, and 26

The M-NCPPC Prince George’s Planning Board is hosting public meetings on the rewrite of the decades old laws that govern development in Prince George’s County.  Some of the Planning Board’s proposed changes include: preapplication community meetings, more mixes of uses allowed in nearly every zone, stronger design standards, and many others. For more info, go to  Here are the meeting dates and locations:

Tuesday, October 24, 2017, Harmony Hall Regional Center, 10701 Livingston Road, Fort Washington, MD 20744, 7:00–9:00 p.m.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017, Laurel-Beltsville Senior Activity Center, 7120 Contee Road, Laurel, MD, 20707, 7:00–9:00 p.m.

Thursday, October 26, 2017, Sports and Learning Complex, Town Hall, 8001 Sheriff Road, Landover, MD 20785, 7:00–9:00 p.m.


Common Ownership Communities Listening Session by Del. Proctor – Oct. 24

Common Ownership Community (HOA, Condo, and Co-Op Associations) Listening Session on Tuesday, October 24, 2017 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the District 5 Police Station in Clinton (6707 Groveton Drive, Clinton, MD 20735).  This meeting will be an opportunity for residents to come address their concerns with Delegate Susie Proctor (District 27A) and to find out about new Common Ownership Community State Laws.  If you plan on attending, please RSVP to Del. Proctor’s Legislative Director, Jocelyn Collins at 410-841-3083 or by email at


Dept. of the Environment Green Summit to Reduce Litter – Wed. Oct. 25th

From the DOE: “Join your Prince George’s County Department of the Environment and other County officials and presenters for a FREE, one-day green summit to engage, promote and empower action for tackling waste and litter issues in our County.” Details: Southern Regional Technology and Recreation Complex, 7007 Bock Road, Fort Washington, MD 20744, 8:30AM-5:30PM.  To register, go here:


Coming Next Week: “Discussion on the State of the Arts in Prince George’s County,” Monday, October 30, 6:00pm at the Publick Playhouse, 5445 Landover Rd, Cheverly, MD 20784.


View the Calendar for County Government Boards and Commissions Here:

View the County Council Meeting Calendar Here:

Important Middle Class Tax Credit Information:

Join the Jobs First Movement here:

pgcbuylocal jobsfirst 3

Prince George’s County Middle Class Tax Credit Programs


Homestead Property Tax Credit

To help homeowners deal with large assessment increases on their principal residence, state law has established the Homestead Property Tax Credit. The Homestead Credit limits the increase in taxable assessments each year to a fixed percentage. Every county and municipality in Maryland is required to limit taxable assessment increases to 10% or less each year. Prince George’s County has a 2% cap which further limits increases. Check the status of your Homestead eligibility by looking up your property on the Real Property database:

Homestead tax credit application: 

You can also contact the local office of the State Assessments Office at 301-952-2500 or visit:

Assessments Office, Courthouse, 14735 Main Street Upper Marlboro, MD 20772-3050


Homeowners’ Property Tax Credit Program

For homeowners with a combined gross household income of $60,000 or less, this program allows credits against the homeowners’ property tax bill, but the taxes must exceed a fixed percentage of a person’s gross income. It sets a limit on the amount of property taxes a homeowner must pay, based on income. Income is defined as the gross income before any deductions are taken. Nontaxable retirement benefits such as Social Security and Railroad Retirement must be reported as income. You must apply every year no later than September on a standard application supplied by the Department of Assessments and Taxation. Example: If your combined household income is $16,000, your tax limit is $420. You would be entitled to receive a credit for any taxes above the $420. You would be entitled to receive a credit for any taxes above the $420. If your actual property tax bill is $990, you would receive a tax credit in the amount of $570, the difference between the actual tax bill and the tax limit.

Apply here:’-Property-Tax-Credit-Program.aspx


Use the Assessment Appeals Process

Everyone’s property is re-assessed every three years, but sometimes your assessment does not really reflect your actual market value based on home sales in your area.  The assessment appeal process allows property owners the opportunity to dispute the value determined by the State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT). Property values rise and fall to reflect the market. Customers should file an appeal when the estimated value of their property does not accurately reflect what they believe to be its current market value.

To Appeal Your Assessment, Go Here:

MD Property Owners’ Bill of Rights:


Maryland Renters’ Tax Credit Program

The State of Maryland Renters’ Tax Credit Program provides Property Tax credits for renters who are age 60 and older or 100% disabled, and also meet certain income requirements. Under HB-340, passed by the Prince George’s County Delegation and the Maryland General Assembly in the 2016 Legislative Session, renters can receive maximum tax relief up to $1,000. This legislation also expands the statewide Renters Tax Credit program and increases the pool of eligible applicants. To get a credit for 2015, you must file by September 1st. Contact the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation at 1-800-944-7403 or visit:’-Tax-Credits.aspx


24-Month Residential Leases for Seniors

Prince George’s County seniors living in specified age-restricted housing can now enter into a 24-month lease agreement without incurring fees or rent increases for the term of the lease. Landlords are required to provide written notice about the 24-month period when entering into a new lease or a renewal lease. For more information, contact Code Enforcement Officer Ann Keys at the County’s Department of Permitting, Inspections and Enforcement (DPIE), 301-883-6058 or


Prince George’s County Renters’ Property Tax Relief Supplement

The Prince George’s County Council, aware that residents who qualify for the State’s Renters’ Tax Credit Program are already stretched financially, also passed CB-95-2015. Prince George’s County will automatically provide a Renters’ Property Tax Relief Supplement to each resident who qualifies for the State Renters’ Tax Credit. The County Supplement is 50% of the State payment, and will be dispersed in late spring of each year. No additional application is required. If you have additional questions, please contact the Office of Finance, Treasury Division, at 301-952-4030. Example: If you qualify for a State of Maryland Renters’ Tax Credit of $400, you will automatically receive a tax credit of $200 from Prince George’s County for a total of $600.


Transfer Tax Exemptions for Classroom Teachers and Police and Deputy Sheriffs

The County and State provide total or partial exemptions from the transfer tax assessed at the sale/purchase of homes in the county for teachers, public officers, and deputy sheriffs.

Transfer tax exemption for teachers here:

Transfer tax exemption for police officers or deputy sheriffs here:


Additional Individual Tax Credits:

Disabled Veterans Tax Exemption – CB-8-2005 Disabled Veterans (retroactive) (PDF) – Tax credit for veterans qualified for disability exemption. Tax credit is equal to full amount of County taxes and applies to taxes previously paid for any year the veteran was qualified for the exemption. Application and proof of claim must be filed with the Director of Finance. Application here:

Surviving Spouse of a Fallen Officer Tax Credit
CB-63-2003 Surviving Spouse of a Fallen Law Enforcement/Rescue Worker (PDF) – Annual application and initial proof of claim must be filed with the Director of Finance by April 1 prior to the tax year for which the credit is being requested. The fallen officer must have owned the dwelling at the time of his/her death and the surviving spouse must currently occupy the dwelling. Application here:

MD Student Loan Debt Relief Tax Credit – Have you incurred at least $20,000 in undergraduate student loan debt and have at least $5,000 in outstanding undergraduate student loan debt remaining? You may be eligible for a tax credit of up to $5,000 on your 2017 personal income tax. ​In order to apply, you mu​st complete and submit an application to the Maryland Higher Education Commission by September​ 15th each year; be a resident of Maryland for the tax year; incurred at least $20,000 in total undergraduate student loan debt; and have at least $5,000 in outstanding student loan debt during the tax year for which you are applying. Apply here:

Agricultural Land Tax Credit
CB-66-2008 Agricultural Land (PDF) – Property must participate in Maryland or County agricultural land preservation program. Tax credit is equal to the full amount of County taxes. Annual application and proof of claim must be filed with the Director of Finance. Application here:

Alternative Energy Tax Credit
CB-11-2008 Alternative Energy/Energy Conservation (PDF) – Tax credit for residential structures that utilize solar energy or geothermal energy devices. Application and proof of claim must be filed with the Director of Finance. Application here: Item – Federal Income Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency:


Join the Jobs First Movement here:



By Authority, Friends of Mel Franklin, Brendon Laster, Treasurer
Friends of Mel Franklin
PO Box 3031
Upper Marlboro MD 20773 United States
prince george's county fatherhood

Prince George’s County Men Make A Difference Day – Tomorrow October 9, 2017

Men Make A Difference Day – Tomorrow October 9, 2017, at all PGCPS Schools

Tomorrow, all across our public schools in Prince George’s County, is “Men Make a Difference Day.”  This tradition was established several years ago by Dr. Michael Robinson, founder and co-CEO of Forest of the Rain Productions, and “acknowledges the vital role fathers and male role models play in the academic achievement of children.” The day has since become a PGCPS school system-wide tradition and “provides fathers, stepfathers, grandfathers, uncles, brothers, and other male role models with an opportunity to participate in several school activities and events throughout the day.”

To all of our fathers, father-figures, and positive men in our communities, please join our kids at your local school, at the start of school in the morning, to demonstrate the strength of family and community in Prince George’s County! 

Show your support on social media by using the hashtag #fatherhoodstrong

Take the fatherhood academic pledge here:

Join the Jobs First Movement here:

11 percent

Is 11 Percent Enough?


That is the embarrassingly low percentage of each of your hard-earned county tax dollars that was spent with minority or woman-owned businesses in Prince George’s County in the last reported year. 

With all of our diversity – being over 85% minority and majority female, home to several thousand minority or woman owned businesses, including over 1,200 certified minority or woman owned firms – our county government has made very little progress with opening the doors of opportunity to minority and woman owned businesses based in Prince George’s County. 

And, despite all of the other progress that Prince George’s County has made over the past several years, this remains one of our biggest shortcomings.  It’s our unfinished business.  It’s one of the problems that we don’t like to talk about. But, I did not accept the mantle of leadership to dodge the tough issues.  Our County prides itself as a progressive place of opportunity for diverse residents of all backgrounds.  It should be unacceptable to all of us, public officials and residents alike, that only 11 cents out of every dollar of your money that the county government spends is spent with minority or women owned businesses that call Prince George’s County home.

Now some might say, “I don’t work in the county,” “I’m retired” or “I am not in business in the county,” why should I care about how much we invest in small, minority, and women owned businesses in the county?  Here is why:

-Because we lack the local business tax base that our neighboring counties and cities have, you pay a higher tax burden on your residential taxes for public services, like schools and public safety, and we still cannot fully fund universal pre-K, new school construction, full public safety staffing, or assistance programs for seniors;

-Because we lack the local business base that our neighboring counties and cities have, we don’t attract enough of the high caliber of retail, restaurants, and other amenities that our residents deserve;

-Because we lack the local business base that our neighboring counties and cities have, over 60% of our workforce must work outside of the county, sitting in longer commutes and worse traffic;

-Because we lack the local business tax base that our neighboring counties and cities have, we don’t have the necessary funds to adequately repave your roads or provide you more bus service; and

-Because we lack the local business base that our neighboring counties and cities have, our nonprofits receive fewer corporate donations than many of our neighboring jurisdictions.

Not investing in small, minority, and women owned businesses in Prince George’s County affects all of us, people of all ages, from every walk of life.  So, let’s do something about it! 

In these upcoming 2018 elections, ask the local candidates you see, “Is 11% enough?”  Then, join my campaign for Council At-Large and support the Jobs First Plan for Prince George’s County here:

Sources: Local Business Participation Procurement Report, Prince George’s County, Fiscal Year 2016; Maryland State MBE Database, 2017; U.S. Census, American Fact Finder, Firms by Industry, Gender, Ethnicity, and Race, Prince George’s County, 2012.

Council At-Large Video Image

Councilman Mel Franklin Launches 2018 Campaign for Council At-Large with Announcement Video

September 19, 2017

For Immediate Release

Prince George’s County Councilman Mel Franklin Officially Launches 2018 Campaign for County Council At-Large Position with Announcement Video

Former Council Chairman’s “Jobs First Movement” to Focus on Making County an Economic Destination and Increasing Investment in Critical Services Like Education and Public Safety


Upper Marlboro, MD – Today, Councilman Mel Franklin (D-District 9) officially launched his 2018 campaign for one of Prince George’s County’s two new Council At-Large positions with an announcement video released through targeted television ads, social media, and electronic mail.  The Franklin for Council At-Large Campaign Announcement Video can be seen at  Councilman Franklin issued the following statement:

“I passionately believe in Prince George’s County’s future.  And, while we have made great progress over the nearly 8 years that I have served on the County Council, we can do even better.  My service as Council Chairman and extensive legislative experience on economic development, the county budget, and quality of life issues gives me a unique, countywide perspective to be an effective advocate for each of the more than 900,000 talented and diverse residents that call Prince George’s County home.

“To take the next great steps on our journey, we should execute a three part “Jobs First” plan: (1) make Prince George’s County an economic destination for the world, establishing a leadership position in signature industries like health care, information technology, and the federal sector, while attracting better retail amenities; (2) keep our public dollars local to grow our small, minority, and women-owned businesses in the County, creating generational wealth and good paying jobs with good benefits; and (3) most of all — invest in our people, by growing our commercial tax base to invest more in education, public safety, roads and transit, property standards, and more services for our seniors and youth.  That’s the Jobs First message and my grassroots campaign will organize around this agenda in communities all across the County.


Highlights of Councilman Franklin’s Accomplishments:

As a prolific legislator during his tenure on the Council, Councilman Franklin has authored over one hundred pieces of legislation adopted or enacted into law, including the county laws that authorized the development of MGM National Harbor and which require at least half of county funds from MGM National Harbor be spent on education.  Councilman Franklin is especially known for authoring landmark procurement laws, known as the Jobs First and Jobs and Opportunity Acts, which established, for the first time, minimum requirements for contracting opportunities for small and minority businesses in the county, local hiring requirements in county contracting, and a mandate that half of county funds be deposited in small, minority or local banks.

As Council Chairman in 2015, Councilman Franklin and his colleagues prevented proposed layoffs of public safety officers.  In fact, since he and his colleagues took office in December of 2010, the county budget’s overall investment in education has increased by roughly $358 million (approximately 20% increase) and in public safety by about $171 million (approximately 32% increase).  As a fierce advocate for eliminating domestic violence, Councilman Franklin has also helped award over $1 million in grants to domestic violence organizations.  And, in 2013, Councilman Franklin authored legislation that reformed and expanded the County’s summer youth jobs program.

Highlights of Councilman Franklin’s Biography:

Councilman Franklin is married to Monekia Franklin, his wife of 11 years, and they reside in Upper Marlboro with their two children.  Councilman Franklin is an attorney who graduated from Duke Law School in 2001 with a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree and the University of South Carolina in 1998 with a Bachelor of the Arts (B.A.) degree.  Prior to serving on the County Council, Councilman Franklin was an Assistant Attorney General with the State of Maryland, specializing in health care regulation and policy, and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Prince George’s Community College.  Earlier in his career, he was a federal antitrust attorney with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and a private sector regulatory lawyer with Sonnenschein Nath and Rosenthal (now “Dentons”).

Franklin for Council At Large - Jobs First

Councilman Mel Franklin’s Official Candidate Announcement Video for Prince George’s County Council At-Large

Please View My Official Candidate Announcement Video for County Council At-Large

Do you believe in Prince George’s County’s future?  If you do, please join me and click the video above to support my Jobs First Plan for Prince George’s County.

Togetherwe will:

1. Make Prince George’s County an economic destination for the world, by cultivating signature industries like health care-life sciences, information technology-communications, business services, tourism-hospitality, and the federal sector, and attracting better retail and restaurant amenities.

2. Keep our public dollars local to grow our small, minority, and women-owned businesses in the County, creating generational wealth and good paying jobs with good benefits for county residents.

3. And most of all — invest in our people, by growing our commercial tax base to invest more in PreK-14 education and workforce development, public safety staffing and resources, better roads and transit, property standards quality and enforcement, and more services for our seniors and youth.

Let’s write the next great chapter in Prince George’s County’s story!

Mel Franklin, Councilman

Back to School

Prince George’s County Back to School Events — College Fair and Book Bag Give-Away


Back to School Event Flyer (Please Share):


Join over 100 colleges, universities, and career related services and over 2000 students at the 8th Annual PTSO College Fair, sponsored by Council Chairman Mel Franklin and Parents Together for Students Organization (PTSO), on Wednesday, September 20, 2017, 3:30-6:30PM, Surrattsville High School, 6101 Garden Drive, Clinton, MD 20735.  Free and open to the public!


On Saturday, September 23, 12PM-3PM, in partnership with Victory Chapel Church, we are sponsoring a book bag giveaway and fall harvest community health and wellness expo. The event will be held at Accokeek Academy, 14400 Berry Road, Accokeek, MD 20607. Come get a free new book bag, and school supplies too. Free and open to the public!