December 2, 2016

Stay Safe this Holiday Season

Ah, the winter holidays. They were immortalized in song as “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” Unfortunately, the holiday season is also one of the most vulnerable times of the year. That’s why Police Chief Tom Manger, Fire Chief Scott Goldstein and others joined County Executive Ike Leggett to promote ways to “Stay Safe this Holiday Season.” The speakers at a recent press conference held at the new Clarksburg Premium Outlets gave tips on how to better “Be Seen,” “Be Alert” and “Be Responsible.” Topics covered included driver and pedestrian safety, including safety in parking lots. Approximately one in four pedestrian collisions occur in parking lots…and they will be crowded during this prime shopping period. Information was also provided about respecting the designated disability parking spaces for people whose vehicles have disability plates or hang tags. Also each year police and firefighters hand out environmentally-friendly reusable shopping bags during the ‘Shop with a Cop or Firefighter” campaign. And drivers were reminded that there is never a reason to drink and drive during the holidays, if you plan ahead for an alternative way home. Learn much more at press release.

Leggett’s Streamlining Continues to Yield Big Rewards with Improvements to Permitting Services that Save Residents and Businesses Money and Time; Time Required for Commercial Permitting Services Down More Than 50 Percent

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett announced significant improvements in the Department of Permitting Services (DPS) processing times. The commercial permitting processing time has decreased over the past two years from an average of 25 weeks to an average of 12 weeks a 52 percent improvement. Initial reviews are completed in 20 to 30 calendar days and solar permits, which have increased dramatically in volume, have a three to five day turn- around. A total of 60,543 permits and licenses were processed in fiscal year 2016, which is a 20 percent increase in volume over 2013 and a 63 percent increase in work volume since 2009. This is customer service and customer friendly.

Recognized by the National Association of Home Builders for their streamlining work, DPS credits the launch of the web-based system called eServices as pivotal in the improvement of services. County residents and businesses use "ePermits" and "ePlans" to apply online and electronically submit building and permitting plans for electrical, deck, new home and right-of-way permits.

The online process kicked off in December 2013; since then, the use of ePermits and ePlans has expanded to required use and there has been a dramatic improvement in review times with businesses receiving their building permits in one-third of the time that it took in Fiscal Year 2015.

The software developer for the ePlans system created a "green" calculator to estimate the benefits to the environment due to avoided vehicle miles, saved fuel costs, avoided driving time, trips removed from the road and paper and trees saved. The estimated positive environmental impacts are considerable and critical.

For more information about the Department of Permitting Services, call 311 or visit the website at

Montgomery County Earns 2016 Triple-A Bond Rating; Among the Best in the Nation for Fiscal Responsibility

County Executive Ike Leggett recently announced that Montgomery County has maintained its Triple-A bond rating for 2016 from three Wall Street bond rating agencies.

Fitch, Moody’s, and Standard & Poor’s all affirmed the “AAA” rating – the highest achievable -- for the County. They all termed the outlook for Montgomery County as “stable.”

The Triple-A bond rating enables Montgomery County to sell long-term bonds at the most favorable rates, saving County taxpayers millions of dollars over the life of the bonds. The rating also serves as a benchmark for numerous other financial transactions, ensuring the lowest possible costs in those areas as well.

Standing UP for the Montgomery Way

County Executive Ike Leggett, County Councilmembers and other public officials, faith leaders, and neighbors came together on November 20 with a crowd of more than 1,000 people at Veterans Plaza in Silver Spring to reaffirm the County’s support of diversity, inclusion, and respect for all – the core values that have made Montgomery County a model community.

    Montgomery County Council Votes to Revise Landlord-Tenant Law

    On November 29 the Montgomery County Council unanimously voted to amend Bill 19-15 in an effort to reform the County’s landlord-tenant laws on November 29. The bill enhances the rights of tenants and improves the quality of rental housing through increased inspections.

    Councilmember Marc Elrich sponsored Bill 19-15 and Councilmembers Nancy Navarro and Tom Hucker are co-sponsors. The Council’s Planning, Housing and Economic Development (PHED) Committee, which is chaired by Councilmember Nancy Floreen and includes Councilmembers George Leventhal and Hans Riemer, held five worksessions on the bill.

    Read the Council staff report (pdf).

    County Cable Montgomery produced a video which shows conditions some tenants currently endure in the County. YouTube link to;
    Video credit: Lilian Mass, a communications specialist and Loren Olson videographer and editor with County Cable Montgomery

    Montgomery County Announces Date for the Groundbreaking Ceremony for the Good Hope Neighborhood Recreation Center

    On Saturday, December 10 at 12:30 p.m., Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett will participate in a groundbreaking ceremony to begin construction of the Good Hope Neighborhood Recreation Center The facility is located at 14715 Good Hope Road in Silver Spring.

    The new 14,000 square foot building will be more than twice the size of the original structure, vastly increasing capacity and making it more useful to the community. The new building will be located at the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission’s Good Hope Park on the site of the existing parking lot. The new parking lot will be built on the site of the old building after it is demolished. The new lot will be closer to the tennis courts and ballfields.

    The building is being replaced because key building systems such as the structural system, exterior walls, elevators, roof and HVAC and electrical system have surpassed their useful service life and it does not meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards.

    Reduce, Reuse and Recycle During the Holidays and Everyday Throughout the Year

    As you are decking your halls this holiday season, you can help the environment by reducing waste, reusing items, and recycling everything that can be recycled. The holiday season traditionally generates additional amounts of waste. Every environmentally-friendly action, regardless of how small, can make a difference to ensure cleaner land, air and water. 

    Read more about the tips the Department of Environmental Protection provides tips to help the environment at press release.

    Office of Consumer Protection Offers Tips to Protect Residents This Holiday Season

    The holiday season is one of the busiest times of year for shoppers and retail stores. The Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection put together this great video to help consumers be smart shoppers during the holiday season.

    Retiring Police Lieutenant Exemplifies Remarkable Dedication to Public Service

    On Wednesday, November 30, Lieutenant Thomas B. Jacocks retired from the Montgomery County Police Department after 61 years on the job. That makes him the longest-serving member of law enforcement at a single agency in the state of Maryland.

    After a stint in the military, he joined the force when Eisenhower was president, the County had approximately 200,000 residents and police officers didn’t go through a training academy, they were issued a uniform, badge and gun and learned on-the-job.

    What he learned over time was that police work was a great fit and as Chief Manger said at his retirement party at the Public Safety Headquarters, “He never lost his passion for the job and has been totally committed to serving the residents of Montgomery County each and every day.”

    He has been blessed with very-understanding-wife Peggy, five children and seven grandchildren. And he also found time to put in over 30 years of service to the Maryland Special Olympics program. In 1985 Maryland began a Torch Run to raise funds for Special Olympics and Lt. Jacocks has never missed the annual runs sponsored by the Montgomery County Police Department.

    So what does a man now carrying a retiree badge and gold police retiree ID card, do with his time after a 61-year-long law enforcement career? He’ll take a couple of days off, and then return to the department as a volunteer. As his wife Peggy said, “He is still committed to the work he was given. He just won’t have to go in five-days-a-week to do it.”

    Thank you Lieutenant Jacocks, for your decades of humble and remarkable service to the residents of Montgomery County!

    Read more about Lieutenant Jacocks in a Washington Post feature story at: , and see channel 4’s coverage of his retirement party at:

    Winter Registration for Montgomery County Recreation Department is Open

    Registration for the Recreation Department's winter programs is now open. Programming options include a wide variety of classes and programs intended to help participants stay active and have fun. Offerings include creative arts, aquatics, sports, therapeutic recreation services and active adult senior programming. 

    For online registration or to view the programming guide online, go to