March 16, 2013

FY 2014 Budget Information

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett presented his recommended operating budget for FY 2014 and highlighted his budget priorities.

Budget Shortfalls Closed
County Government Spending
Holding Property Taxes at Charter Limit
Employee Cost Savings FY10 - FY13
  • Budget Shortfalls Closed (pdf)
  • County Government Spending (pdf)
  • Holding Property Taxes at Charter Limit (pdf)
  • Employee Cost Savings FY10 - FY13 (pdf)

March 15, 2013

Leggett Budget Holds Line on Property Taxes at Charter Limit, Funds Schools at Maintenance of Effort Level, Boosts Public Safety, Libraries, Positive Youth Development and Seniors

Prudent Approach Built on Putting CountyFiscal House in Order, $469 Million in Savings on Employee Compensation Realized Over Past Four Years

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett has announced his recommended $4.8 billion operating budget for fiscal year (FY) 2014 that begins July 1. Leggett’s budget holds the line on property taxes at the County Charter level below the rate of inflation.

His recommendation includes a tax-supported County government budget of $1.3 billion, up 3.9 percent, which is half of last year’s increase. The budget increases County spending for Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) to the level required by the State’s Maintenance of Effort law.

The budget continues Leggett’s three-year plan to add 120 sworn officers and 23 civilians to the Police Department and doubles the number of School Resource Officers assigned to County high schools. It provides a 10 percent increase in Public Libraries, staffing newly-renovated libraries in Gaithersburg and Olney, increasing materials and adding hours at several libraries.

Following up on commitments made in his February 20 “State of the County” speech, Leggett expands the popular “Excel Beyond the Bell” program in his Positive Youth Initiative and boosts County funding to expand English language programs for County adults by 14 percent. Leggett’s budget also expands the County’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) that assists the working poor.

The overall recommendations include:
  • A total County budget (which includes debt service, grants, and enterprise funds) for FY14 of $4.8 billion, an increase of $190 million from the FY13 approved budget – or a 4.1 percent increase. This includes all agencies -- MCPS, Montgomery College, Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) and County government
  • An overall FY14 tax-supported portion of the budget of $4.188 billion (including debt service) that will increase by $168 million, or 4.2 percent, from the FY13 budget. 
  • A tax-supported County government budget of $1.31 billion, an increase of $49 million, or 3.9 percent – about half the increase approved by the County Council for FY13.
  • Funding for MCPS will increase by $55.8 million – a 2.8 percent increase from FY13 and an increase of $28.7 million in County funding over last year. The budget provides a County contribution to MCPS that meets the requirements of the State’s Maintenance of Effort Law. 
  • The budget for Montgomery College increases by $9.2 million, a 4.2 percent increase. The budget funds 99 percent of the College’s tax-supported request.
  • Funding for the M-NCPPC increases by $4 million, a 3.7 percent increase representing 100 percent of the agency’s tax-supported request. 
See the Executive’s Recommended FY14 Operating Budget.
See the Budget in Brief.
Read details in the news release.
See following budget charts:
  • Budget Shortfalls Closed (pdf)
  • County Government Spending (pdf)
  • Holding Property Taxes at Charter Limit (pdf)
  • Employee Cost Savings FY10 - FY13 (pdf)

View video of Budget Conference
Submit your budget ideas on engageMontgomery

Pedestrians Urged to Walk Safe, Drivers Should Look Out for Pedestrians; Time Change, Warmer Weather Brings Spate of Pedestrian Collisions

With the recent time change to Daylight Savings Time, early morning pedestrians are traveling before the sun comes up. County officials urge pedestrians and drivers to be especially aware of each other, particularly during darkness and in bad weather when visibility is limited.

“The recent spate of pedestrian collisions in Montgomery County is a terrible tragedy,” said County Executive Ike Leggett. “The County is committed to keeping pedestrians safe, and we have engaged in an aggressive program to reduce collisions through engineering efforts and enhanced enforcement and education that is having excellent results.

“But, we also need the public’s help to improve safety,” Leggett stated. “We need drivers to obey the law, yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, slow down, pay attention and look out for pedestrians. We need drivers to eliminate distractions, put down their electronic devices and drive less aggressively.

“We need pedestrians to be vigilant, on guard and undistracted. They should use crosswalks, cross only with walk signals and never assume that drivers see them and will yield to them when they step into the road.

“We need everyone to be engaged to make sure that crossing the street is not a death defying act.”

See safety tips for pedestrians and drivers.


Police Urge Residents to be Alert for Possible Utility Scam 

In the wake of a recent utility scam in Gaithersburg, County Police are warning residents to be aware that all utility workers carry proper identification. If a worker is unable to provide proper identification, do not allow him or her to enter your residence. 
Residents can also check with their respective utility companies to determine whether the company has workers in the area before allowing the worker to enter their homes.

PEPCO customer service 202-833-7500
WSSC customer service 301-206-9772
Washington Gas customer service 703-750-1000

Free Sign Language Practice Series for Beginners at Germantown Library
A free five-session Sign Language Practice for Beginners will be introduced at the Germantown Library, 19840 Century Blvd., on Sunday, April 7 from 2 to 4 p.m. The program will continue on April 21 and 28, May 5 and 19. (No sessions on April 14 and May 12.)

The practice sessions, that will emphasize practicing and expanding vocabulary and conversation, are designed for individuals ages 16 and older who have basic knowledge of sign language. Advanced beginners also are welcome.

Registration is limited to 30 participants and includes all five sessions. Go to the library website -- -- under Library Events Calendar.

To request disability accommodations, contact the Germantown Library at 240-777-0110.

Earth Day Volunteers Needed
Volunteers are needed to assist with trash removal during an Earth Day cleanup project on April 20 from 9 a.m. to noon in the White Oak neighborhood of Silver Spring.

Participants, 14 years of age or older, must register prior to the event. Public school students who volunteer will be eligible to earn Student Service Learning hours. Contact Leslie Wilcox at or 240-777-7780 for more information or to register.

Hosted by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in partnership with the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Department of Parks and the local watershed group Eyes of Paint Branch, the event is part of the Anacostia Watershed Society’s Earth Day Cleanup celebration held throughout the Anacostia watershed.

A list of Montgomery County Earth Month events is available on the My Green Montgomery website. Check back frequently as more events are added.


County’s Public Libraries System among Top 100 to Follow on Twitter

Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) has placed 48th in the list of “Top 100 Libraries to Follow on Twitter” that also includes notable libraries and library systems in the U.S. and abroad. Topping the list were The Library of Congress and the New York Public Library.

The listing was compiled by Matt Anderson, an academic librarian, library lover and, currently, a product manager at a major library software company.

Anderson explained that the list reflects “…active libraries that provide great content on Twitter. They are quick to respond to people’s comments and questions, and their presence is felt around the Twitter library world. If you are trying to learn about what leading libraries are doing, check out the 100 Twitter handles.”

See the list of 100 Libraries to Follow on Twitter.

Follow MCPL on Twitter.

March 12, 2013

Leggett to Present FY 2014 Recommended Operating Budget

County Executive Ike Leggett will present his Recommended Operating Budget for FY 2014 and highlight his budget priorities on Friday, March 15 at a 10:30 a.m. news conference in the Executive Office Building in Rockville. 

The news conference will be broadcast live on County Cable Montgomery, Channel 6 for Comcast and RCN subscribers and Channel 30 for Verizon subscribers.

It can also be viewed on the County’s website by going to

March 11, 2013

Investing in Roads, Bridges & Mass Transit…and Creating Jobs

A consensus plan that will increase investment in the State’s transportation system by an average of $800 million a year, once fully implemented, and will support an estimated 44,000 jobs over five years has been introduced by Governor O’Malley and Senate and House leaders.

See details about the plan.

County Officials Respond to the State’s Transportation Funding Initiative

County Executive Ike Leggett

“I am very pleased that Governor O’Malley, Senate President Miller, and Speaker Busch have joined forces to ensure that the Maryland Transportation Trust Fund has the needed resources to maintain and improve our State’s roads and transportation systems and grow jobs and business into the future.

“Several years ago, I virtually stood alone in advocating for an increase in the state’s gasoline tax -- which hasn’t been increased since 1992, when George Bush Senior was President. It wasn’t popular then, and it isn’t popular now. But we needed it then, and we still need it now.

“This will help replenish the State’s Transportation Trust Fund and assist counties throughout the state to advance major transportation infrastructure. Inaction costs commuters even more time stuck in congestion and costs the State jobs and investment.”

Council President Nancy Navarro

“Thank you to Governor O’Malley, Speaker Busch and Senate President Miller for proposing a serious transportation solution. Maryland’s economic future rests on our ability to fund our state’s transportation priorities. The proposal to lower and index the gas tax, while adding a sales tax on the wholesale price of gasoline, will keep Maryland’s transportation funding and gas prices competitive with our neighbors across the Potomac River.“Governor O’Malley’s proposal recognizes that we will rise or fall together—as One Maryland. His statewide solution will raise revenue to fund projects from Western Maryland to the Eastern Shore. Having resources available to build our transit infrastructure and maintain our roads and bridges will help our private sector grow and economy thrive.

“I look forward to working with our delegation in Annapolis over the next six weeks to pass the Transportation Infrastructure and Investment Act of 2013.”

Chat Online with County Executive Ike Leggett

County Executive Ike Leggett will host his next online, live discussion with residents on March 19 from 1 to 2 p.m.

Residents interested in participating can submit questions before or during the chat. Questions and answers will be available for viewing both during and after the chat.

For more information, call the Office of Public Information at 240-777-6507.

Council to Host Town Hall Meeting at AFI Silver

The County Council will host a Town Hall Meeting for the Silver Spring area on Wednesday, March 13, at the American Film Institute (AFI) Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, beginning at 8 p.m.

Located at 8633 Colesville Road in downtown Silver Spring, the theatre is close to the Red Line - Silver Spring Metro Station. Parking is available in nearby public garages.

The meeting will be recorded for broadcast at later dates on County Cable Montgomery (CCM) which is on Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN and Channel 30 on Verizon. Susan Kenedy, a CCM producer, will moderate the meeting.

Read more about the Town Hall Meeting or call 240-777-7931.

Executive Calls for “Common Sense” Gun Control

In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook tragedy, County Executive Ike Leggett spoke out in favor of what he calls “common sense gun control measures.”

Writing in an editorial in The Montgomery Democrat, the newsletter of the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee, Leggett said that now, we must “try to figure what we can do to make sure our classrooms resound to the sounds of laughter and learning, not tragic consequences.

“The place to start is with stricter gun control laws.

“It is time for common sense gun control measures that all Americans -- Republicans and Democrats, gun owners and those who have lost loved ones to gun violence – can rally around.”

Read the entire text.

Overwhelming Majority of Marylanders Support Handgun Licensing Requirement

Figures are in and according to a recent Washington Post poll, 85% of Marylanders support Governor O’Malley’s proposal that would require persons buying handguns to be licensed and fingerprinted.

Read more information.

Police Warn of Telephone Scams

County Police continue to warn residents about a wave of phone scams that have been
reported in the past several months – and six, alone, since February 20.

In these incidents, the suspect (caller) has phoned from the same number, which appears to be local.  However, Financial Crimes detectives have determined that the calls have originated from outside the country.

Generally, the scammer tells the victim that a family member or friend of the victim is in trouble or needs help.  Scammers present a variety of emergency situations in these calls, to include a loved one who is in jail, has been in an accident, or has been physically hurt.  The suspect often states that the event has occurred in another area and that the loved one is unable to talk.  To help the family or friend, the victim is required to send money via wire transfer or other fund transfer (ie: pre-paid cards, internet transaction).

Police have compiled a list of tips residents should follow to help protect themselves.

Spanish Language Media Coverage of State of the County Speech

Following are articles that appeared in local Spanish language media about County Executive Ike Leggett’s recent State of the County Address.

Environmental Protection Receives Major Grant for Stormwater Management Projects

The Department of Environmental Protection has received a $19.8 million grant from the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund to construct and carry out stormwater management projects in the Anacostia River and Rock Creek watersheds, in coordination with other local, State and federal partners.

According to a release from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the grant will fund 15 urban stormwater management projects to improve local water quality, including restoring streams, adding rain gardens, revamping stormwater ponds, and creating both dry and wet grass channels, to filter polluted runoff.
Some will also increase floodplain access, create wetlands, and enhance wildlife and aquatic habitat. The projects will support the retention and creation of an estimated 140 jobs, with some already underway.

Learn more about the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund.


Doing the Harlem Shake with the County Executive

No stranger to leading the way in governing the County, County Executive Ike Leggett recently led a group of youngsters and seniors in the Harlem Shake at the intergenerational Seniors Prom held at the Jewish Council for the Aging’s (JCA) Misler Adult Day Center in Rockville. The prom featured volunteers and dancers from the JCA, BBYO (Jewish Teens) and Charles E. Smith Life Communities.

Free Income Tax Assistance for Eligible Residents    
Montgomery County taxpayers with incomes under $51,000 per year may be eligible for free income tax preparation assistance through the IRS’ Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program, sponsored by the County’s Community Action Agency, part of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Free tax services are also available through the RSVP/AARP Tax Aide Program, Community Tax Aid, and at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

To learn more about the County’s free tax services, and where to apply, call 3-1-1 (TTY: 301-251-4850 / MD Relay- 711) or visit

Recreation to Host Japan Fair at Bauer Drive Community Center

Montgomery County Recreation and Sakura Educational Exchange USA will co-host a student-presented “Japan Fair” on Saturday, March 23, from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Bauer Drive Community Center, 14625 Bauer Dr., Rockville.   

The free annual event is presented by students from Yokohama Hayato High School in Yokohama, Japan who will demonstrate and teach various Japanese arts, games and customs.

Adults and children will observe an informal Japanese Tea Ceremony and listen to Japanese songs.  There will be a martial arts demonstration, dancing and a performance of a Japanese play.  Visitors will also learn how to create origami and calligraphy, play Japanese games and see Anime/Manga (Japanese cartoons).

For more information, call Alex Taylor at 240-777-6922.

Nominations Sought for Awards to Those who Advocate on Behalf of Low-Income Residents

The County’s Community Action Board is seeking nominations for several awards which recognize individuals and organizations that have made a difference in reducing poverty, or for advocating on behalf of Montgomery County’s low-income residents.

Nominations must be received by Friday, March 22.

Awards will be presented at the Board’s annual Community Action Month Celebration and Volunteer Event on Tuesday, May 28.

See more information.

See The Unseen Montgomery On County Cable – Another Side of Life in the County

A new “special” that focuses on the pockets of poverty found in upscale Montgomery County can now be seen on County Cable Montgomery (CCM -- Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN and Channel 30 on Verizon).

Entitled The Unseen Montgomery, the half-hour show looks at families of working poor and people whose circumstances have taken dramatic turns for the worse due to the economic conditions of the past few years. Among those interviewed was a mother of three who said she works fulltime, but her net income is only $32,000 -- leaving not enough to fully pay her bills.

The show will be rebroadcast at various future times that have yet to be determined. It  can be viewed online on YouTube at

The show, produced and hosted by CCM’s Susan Kenedy, is a special edition of the The Bottom Line that airs on the local channel.

Program on Nursing Home Medicaid Coming to Public Libraries in March, April

Information on Nursing Home Medicaid will be presented in programs to be held in March and April at several branches of Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL).

Conducted by staff from the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the programs are the result of a partnership between HHS and MCPL.

Information presented will feature an overview of what Nursing Home Medicaid is, how it differs from Medicare, general asset and income regulations, and what to expect during the application process.  A question and answer session will follow the program.

Check out the schedule and get more information for the programs that will be held during afternoon hours at various branches, beginning March 14.

Council Approves Bill Impacting Inclusion of Child Care Facilities in New County Projects

The County Council has unanimously approved a bill that could lead to the inclusion of child care facilities in new County projects.  Bill 38-12 requires the County’s Office of Management and Budget to submit child care facilities impact statements with certain capital projects in the Capital Improvements Program.

The demand for good child care facilities exceeds supply in the County. The purpose of the bill is to assure that the County takes advantage of all opportunities to include child care facilities in County capital projects.
The bill will require County departments and agencies to supplement impact statements on future construction projects that would analyze the feasibility of including a child care facility as part of the project.

Read more.

Food Inspection Data Added to New dataMontgomery Website   

Residents can now check inspection results for their favorite restaurant, carry-out, market or other kind of food service establishment on Montgomery County's new dataMontgomery website --

The inspection data can be sorted in various ways -- by name of the establishment, location, and whether the business is in compliance with food safety requirements, nutritional labeling, the trans fat ban, and the posting of non-smoking signs. Violations are included, along with corrections.

The data include the results of inspections conducted by the County's Licensure & Regulatory Services Program, part of the Department of Health and Human Services, which inspects all licensed retail food establishments in Montgomery County for a variety of reasons (e.g. obtaining an operating license, regular check-ups or in response to complaints).

Powered by Socrata

Fire Rescue Significant Incident Map Enhanced with Photo Icon

Residents can locate Fire Rescue calls within the County online via the Significant Incident Map and receive basic details about the incident.

Now, MCFRS has added a new feature that will either show you a photo or a photo and a link to more pictures of the incident. Just look for the camera icon next to some of the incidents.

Those who view the map are reminded that only incidents of some significance are shown. The map will not include, for instance, response to false or well intentioned fire alarms. Likewise, not every medical call is shown.

MCFRS welcomes feedback. Just send an email.

Free Water Summit to Offer Lessons for All Ages

Residents can learn about how their actions affect local streams and rivers and how they can get involved in protecting drinking water at a free H2O Summit on Saturday, March 16.  The event will be held at the Activity Center at Bohrer Park, 506 S. Frederick Ave, Gaithersburg.

The early session, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., is for adults who will learn how they can help protect and improve water quality. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., families can test a water tank, create a masterpiece with recycled material, play stream games, etc.

The summit is sponsored by the Department of Environmental Protection and the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission. Helping to plan the summit are the City of Gaithersburg, City of Rockville, Montgomery County Parks and the University of Maryland Extension.

To register, visit

For more information, contact Ryan Zerbe at   or 240-777-7744.

Guinea Pig Adoption Month at the Humane Society

In recognition of Guinea Pig Adoption Month, here are some interesting facts about guinea pigs (or cavvies) from our friends at the Montgomery County Humane Society:
  • Guinea pigs have an average life span of 5 to 8 years. An adult male normally weighs about 2 to 3.5 lbs.; an adult female weighs a bit less, on average.  
  • They are sociable creatures, usually happiest in pairs or where they can see and talk to other pigs, but they can also live happily by themselves if you show them lots of affection. While intact males should not be housed together, (they may fight), they certainly can enjoy supervised play dates
 Read more in AnEmail the Humane Society’s monthly newsletter.

Nominations Invited for Outstanding Service to Youth Awards

The County Commission on Children and Youth is seeking nominations for the 27th Annual Nancy Dworkin Awards for Outstanding Service to Youth.

Awards will be presented in early May to individuals in the following categories who perform or provide services for youth:

  • Youth -- a child or young person, up to 21 years old;
  • Service Provider – an individual (e.g. teacher, counselor, police officer, fire fighter);
  • Volunteer  an individual who provides volunteer services;
  • Organization – an organization that is in the business of serving children and youth; and
  • Business – a for- profit business in the County that provides an outstanding volunteer service for children and youth.
Nominations must be received by Friday, March 29 Recipients will be honored the awards ceremony on Monday, May 6 at Adventure Theatre.

The Montgomery County Commission on Children and Youth advises the County Executive, County Council, Department of Health and Human Services, and the Board of Education on the develodevance.walker@montgomerycountymd.govpment of coordinated community and government policies, programs and services that support children, youth and families.

The award is named in memory of Nancy Dworkin, past chairperson of the Commission.

For details on how to submit a nomination, contact: Mary Gies at 240-777-4659 or email

Mentors Sought for New Local Small Businesses

As part of the Montgomery County Business Mentorship Program, the Department of Economic Development (DED) is looking for business owners and leaders to counsel new local small businesses.

DED has approximately 20 businesses that can use expert advice on best practices to grow their businesses. Mentoring companies are asked to commit to working with new businesses through December 31, 2013 at their convenience.

To learn more about how you can become a business mentor, contact Dr. DeVance Walker, Jr. via email or call 240-777-2032.


He Goes When it Snows: Portrait of a County Plow Driver

Washington Post columnist John Kelly’s ride along with County snow plow/salt truck driver Mauricio “J.J.” Barbosa takes a look not only at plow Route 1523, but at the Department of Transportation veteran driver and Colombia native who “likes pushing snow.”

Local Team Honored for Accomplishments in South American Youth Soccer Tournament

County Executive Ike Leggett recently recognized members of the Alianza Lima de Maryland Soccer Team that competed in the South American Youth Soccer Tournament in Lima, Peru. As the only U.S. entry in the competition, the locals finished fourth against teams from around the world. Team members are middle and high school students in Montgomery County public schools


Sunday, March 24 -- Literacy Council of Montgomery County’s SCRABBLE® SCRAMBLE fundraiser to benefit the organization's adult literacy programs. Manor Country Club, 14901 Carrolton Rd., Rockville. 6 to 9 p.m. Four-player teams will compete to achieve the highest total score. Players will be able to purchase extra letters, buy a peek at a dictionary, and play cooperatively with other team members. Prizes will be awarded to the three top scoring teams. Tickets are $250 for a table of four and dinner.
Contact Martha E. Stephens at 301-610-0030 or

Check County Calendar for more information.