May 23, 2019

Holiday Schedule for Memorial Day


Montgomery County government will observe the following holiday schedule for Memorial Day, Monday, May 27:
  • County Offices - closed;
  • Libraries - closed;
  • Department of Liquor Control - all stores open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.;
  • Recreation - Aquatics programs and facilities open. Recreation centers, senior centers and administrative offices are closed;
  • Montgomery Parks - visit www.MontgomeryParks.org;
  • Ride On - will run on a Sunday schedule. Click on a route number for the Sunday schedule;
  • Metrorail and Metrobus - Information available at www.wmata.com;
  • TRiPS Commuter Store (Silver Spring) - closed; Mobile Store - closed;
  • County-provided refuse/recycling pickup - No County-provided collection services will occur on this day. After the holiday, all County-provided recycling and trash collections will slide and be one day later than normal with the last pickup on Saturday, June 1;
  • Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station - Monday, May 27: Entire facility closed; Tuesday, May 28: Shady Grove entrance Scale House, main tipping floor, and the Annex at the Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station will be open extended hours from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. to handle the expected higher volume of waste following the Memorial Day weekend. Route 355 entrance Public Unloading Facility, Upper Lot, and the Recycling Center will operate normal hours and open at 7 a.m.;
  • Parking at public garages, lots, curbside meters - free; and
  • State offices and courts - closed.

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich’s Statement on Adoption of FY 2020 Operating and Capital Budgets


The past six months have been an important period for Montgomery County and its future path. My promise to the residents and business owners of this County was that we would work toward a better way to operate the County Government; and we would do it in a sustainable and progressive way.

That is what my recommended Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Operating Budget and my amendments to the FY2019-24 Capital Improvements Program (CIP) Budget reflected when I presented them to the County Council earlier this year. Today, I applaud and appreciate the Council’s unanimous support for the County’s $5.8 billion operating budget that endorses 99.7 percent of my initial proposal. It is symbolic of the new and collaborative relationship – that I and Council President Nancy Navarro as well as the entire Council have worked to develop.

When I introduced the budget, I left $10 million unallocated for the Council to apportion as a sign of my new approach. It was a tough decision to leave many worthy requests unfulfilled, but I was heartened to hear many Councilmembers partially credit this action for creating a more cooperative decision-making process. As a councilmember, I was frequently troubled by one-time raids on various County accounts to fund ongoing commitments. I was also bothered that the only way to change something was to cut something else that the Executive had appropriated. I am glad that this new approach has been helpful.

Throughout my campaign for County Executive, I pledged the County would not raise tax rates this year. The Council supported my plan to keep that promise. In addition, the budget includes a property tax credit of $692 for homeowners whose properties are their primary residences.

This budget addresses our most pressing needs in a fiscally responsible manner despite lower-than-predicted revenues. The budget starts to correct chronic understaffing in a number of departments that has driven excessive overtime and that contributes to the need for perpetual mid-year savings plans. For example, I added funding to cover the actual salary cost for overtime in the Department of Fire & Rescue Services and for the actual cost of contracts in the Department of Health & Human Services.

Keeping a central promise from the campaign, this budget includes new funding for a down payment on my plan to expand early childhood education, which should be a gamechanger for our entire educational system. The budget also fully funds the requests of Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) as well as Montgomery College. We have the flexibility to meet these goals, in part, due to the great work by our state delegation – my initial budget increased funding for MCPS by 2 percent and thanks to state aid, MCPS will have a 3 percent increase. I was happy to be able to go to Annapolis regularly throughout the legislative session to support their efforts.

During the next year, we will expand our public safety priorities and protect safety net services that are critical to our most vulnerable neighbors. We will also battle congestion as the FLASH transit line along Route 29 continues toward completion and we get set to launch on-demand Ride On service as a pilot program near three Metrorail stations.

The FY19-24 capital budget will fund school construction, infrastructure improvements, and community projects.

The approved budget achieves my commitment to meet the FY20 target for the County’s reserve at 10 percent of adjusted governmental revenues. This is one of the critical elements considered by rating agencies and important for the County’s AAA bond rating. Our best-in-the-country bond rating enables the County government to sell long-term bonds at the most favorable rates, saving taxpayers millions of dollars over the life of the bond. Meeting our County’s 10 percent reserve target in FY20 will mean lower contributions in future budgets.  

By reducing borrowing costs each year, our County will reduce its debt service burden – something that has been overwhelming the budget process year-after-year, and something I have promised to fix.

This budget also provides affordable salary increases for our dedicated County employees. I was disappointed when the council initially rejected one of our hard-bargained employee contracts. I wanted to honor the commitment that the prior administration made to some of our longest serving employees by fully restoring a service increment increase that had been cut in 2011. As only one in ten County employees still qualify for this increase, I believed then and I still believe that it was completely affordable. I am pleased that this budget restores a deferred increment for another County union – the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), completing restoration of two deferred increments each for the FOP and the International Association of Fire Fighters. I am also pleased that teachers and other school staff also had increments restored in prior budgets, including one increment in January. Those restorations left only the workers in the Municipal and County Government Employees Organization (MCGEO) with no restored increments, which was not equitable. Fortunately, I was able to craft a compromise with our labor partners and the Council to restore one deferred increment to MCGEO over three years. I am proud to lead and serve with these employees, who work tirelessly to ensure the highest level of service and quality of life for our residents.

I have promised our residents honesty when it comes to our budgets. Too many people are growing weary and cynical about government at all levels because of budget gimmicks, tax giveaways, and hyperbolic political rhetoric. Approval of this budget is part of my effort to be straightforward in the budget process.

This budget also represents a part of my work for a County government that seeks and values the participation of our residents, our employees, our nonprofit partners, our business community, and my fellow elected officials in a deliberate and transparent manner based on facts and accurate figures. We may not always be in complete agreement, but we will work together to build a better Montgomery County for all.

County Executive Marc Elrich and Councilmember Will Jawando to Host Community Forum on Policing


County Executive Marc Elrich and Councilmember Will Jawando will host a community forum on policing in Montgomery County. The objective is to engage County residents to share their experiences and concerns about current policies and actions and to identify future priorities they want to see for a new police chief.

The forum will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, June 6 at John F. Kennedy High School Auditorium located at 1902 Randolph Road in Silver Spring.

Attendees will be invited to participate in a live, interactive survey. County residents who cannot attend are encouraged to provide feedback via an online survey that will close at 9 a.m. on Monday, June 10.

County Executive Outlines Continuing Efforts to Address Housing Affordability


Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich outlined several plans to improve housing for County residents. Those include: helping tenants transition to homeownership; preserving affordable housing; protecting tenant access to housing after their building is renovated; helping people with low and middle incomes; and, helping address financially-strained condominium communities.

These efforts come in addition to the County’s ongoing work to improve housing code enforcement at multifamily apartment buildings. That two-year inspection surge is wrapping up, to be followed by regular inspections at all properties, including more frequent (annual) inspections at “troubled properties.”

Elrich made his remarks at the Affordable Housing Conference of Montgomery County, an annual gathering that addresses housing policies and programs held on Friday, May 17 in North Bethesda.

Elrich also gave the Housing Partnership Award to Ken Holt, Maryland Secretary of Housing and Community Development. And, he congratulated the family who won the “Break the Barrier to Homeownership” Award.

Also at the Conference, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen commended Montgomery County for leveraging federal affordable housing dollars to achieve good progress on its housing agenda - including declaring an end to veterans’ homelessness. And, he said we must keep working together to expand affordable housing and help overcome the legacy of discrimination.



24th Annual ‘Taste of Wheaton’ Festival on Sunday, June 2, to Feature Food from a Wide Array of Local Restaurants, Family Activities, Beer and Wine Garden and a Full Day of Entertainment


The 24th Annual Taste of Wheaton will make available samples from the diverse restaurants in Downtown Wheaton and provide a full day of family and children’s activities, exhibitors, a beer and wine garden and entertainment including four bands. Samples of food from Wheaton’s variety of restaurants will range in price from $1 to $5 per “taste."

The free event will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, June 2, at County Parking Lot 17 located at 2320 Price Ave. (the corner of Price Ave. and Fern St.). The location is one block east of the Wheaton Metro station.

Detailed information about the event is available on the Taste of Wheaton website.

Silver Spring Summer Concerts Return to Veterans Plaza

Downtown Silver Spring will be hopping again this summer when the Silver Spring’s Thursday Night Concerts returns. The full line-up of the concert series features touring artists and local favorites. From Motown to rock to Oldies, the popular summer concert series has music for everyone.

The free, outdoor concerts will take place at Veterans Plaza located at One Veterans Place. The concerts begin at 7 p.m. on Thursday evening, beginning June 20 through Aug. 8. There will not be a concert on Thursday, July 4.
  • June 20 – The Back Pages Band (60s/70s Tribute)
  • June 27 – Josh Christina (Rockabilly)
  • July 11 – Route 66 Band (Classic Rock, Country)
  • July 18- Marc Berger Band (American Roots)
  • July 25- MoCo’s Got Talent (Variety)
  • August 1 - The HitTime Revue Featuring Jimi Smooth (R&B, Soul)
  • August 8 –The Soul Crackers (Motown Soul)
The concert features face painting, games for kids, and a raffle with prizes for adults as well as toys and gifts for kids. The raffle opens at 6:30 p.m. and is awarded at intermission.

Performances are canceled due to weather only if it is raining at 7 p.m. The programs are sponsored by Live Nation, Discovery Communications, Montgomery County, the Silver Spring Urban District and Montgomery County Recreation. For more information, visit the Silver Spring concert series website, or call 240-777-0311.

Autism/IDD Night Out Event to Provide Activities and Information

Montgomery County’s Department of Police will host a free Autism/IDD Night Out event from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, May 30. The event will include information for caregivers, parents, loved ones and community members who want to learn more about autism.

The event will be held at Montgomery County’s Public Safety Training Academy located at 8751 Snouffer School Road in Gaithersburg. In addition to the safety resources, there will be information about community-based support program. The Go Team Therapy dogs and the K-9 Unit, officers from each district station and Montgomery County Fire and Rescue personnel will be on hand.

Visit montgomerycountymd.gov/lifesaver for more information.

Happy, Healthy Homes Green Initiative’ Seeks to Help Low-Income Families Save on Energy Costs

A partnership program between the County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Montgomery Housing Partnership (MHP) has created the new “Happy, Health Homes Green Initiative” to help low-income families save money on energy costs.

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich, County Council Vice President Sidney Katz, County Director of DEP Adam Ortiz and MHP President Robert Goldman helped launch the program to address a national issue that finds low-income households spending a larger portion of their income on home energy costs than other households.

Part of the initiative will work toward making more than 1,800 low-income families in MHP housing aware of energy assistance programs that are available to County residents. In addition, there are numerous useful “green” programs for which low-income residents may be eligible. The housing organization has properties located in Gaithersburg, Rockville, Silver Spring, Takoma Park and Wheaton.

More information is available at County's website or by calling DEP Residential Energy Program Manager Larissa Johnson at 240-777-7711.

Business Connect: Let’s Make It Happen

Registration is now underway for the Business Connect workshops and one-on-one counseling at the Upcounty Regional Services Center located at 12900 Middlebrook Road in Germantown.

Business Connect is a program of the Montgomery County Business Solutions Group, which includes the small business navigator and business liaison officers. The Business Connect program is all about providing classes, counseling and connections for business owners and entrepreneurs.

To peruse upcoming classes, visit the Montgomery County Business Portal and click on Training Workshops (at the top right of the website).  The following classes are scheduled at the Upcounty Regional Services Center:
To book an appointment with the County’s Business Solutions Group, email bizportal@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Summer Season Starts in Downtown Silver Spring with a Fox 5 Zip Trip and Children’s National Health System

The summer season gets started when Fox 5 debuts their first 2019 Zip Trip in downtown Silver Spring. Everyone is invited to get in on the fun, which begins on Veterans Plaza located at One Veterans Place on Friday, May 24 beginning at 7:30 a.m.

To help serve an important need, Children’s National Health System will also participate by holding blood drive. Volunteers are asked to stop in to donate blood, which will help treat the more than 1,400 kids with sickle cell disease and many more chronic illnesses. Did you know that one unit of blood can help 4 to 5 children?

The blood drive will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. People can pre-register or they can walk-in to donate blood at the event. Online registration is available here or by calling 202-476-5437.

Remember, ALL donors should:
  • Eat breakfast prior to blood donation.
  • Drink at least 16 ounces of water prior to coming to donate.
  • Read eligibility requirements prior to scheduling an appointment.
  • Be free of flu and cold-like symptoms for at the least three days prior to donation.
Prospective donors must present photo identification (driver’s license, passport, employee/college ID with a picture) at time of donation.