May 28, 2015

County Council Adopts $5.08 Billion Total Operating Budget for FY2016; Property Taxes Maintained at Charter Limit

The Montgomery County Council adopted a $5.08 billion total County operating budget for Fiscal Year 2016 that begins July 1. The budget reflects a 1.7 percent increase over the approved budget for FY 2015.

The total County budget, including debt service, grants and enterprise funds, will be $5.08 billion. The overall tax supported portion of the budget including debt service will be $4.42 billion, an increase of 1.5 percent from the FY15 budget.

The budget maintains property tax revenue at the Charter limit (last year’s amount plus an inflation-tied increase). It includes a $692 property tax credit for owner-occupants of principal residences. The weighted property tax rate will decrease to 98.7 cents per $100 of assessed value (from 99.6 cents).

The budget will go into effect on July 1.

See more in the Council news release.

Read County Executive’s reaction to the Council’s approved budget.


Leggett Moves Forward to Privatize County Economic Development

County Executive Ike Leggett has sent legislation to the County Council that would transfer the major functions of County economic development and business promotion to a private-sector-led, non-profit entity.

Under the proposed legislation (Bill 25-15), both the County’s Department of Economic Development (DED) and the non-profit Montgomery Business Development Corporation (MBDC), a non-profit funded by the County to assist with business marketing, would be folded into a new 501-C-3 non-profit corporation. That corporation would be directed by an 11-member board chosen from the private sector and appointed by the County Executive and confirmed by the County Council.

The new corporation would be funded by the County and have responsibility for business attraction and retention, marketing and fostering entrepreneurship.

Read more information in the news release.

See Frequently Asked Questions on the privatization of core County economic development functions.

Executive Office Building Traffic Circle Closed During 16-Month Rehabilitation, Improvement Work

The Executive Office Building Traffic Circle (EOBTC) at 101 Monroe St., Rockville will be closed to vehicular traffic from now until September 2016 while the area’s surface and support structure are demolished, reinforced and reconstructed.

Immediate repairs are necessary due to continual deterioration which is causing water to penetrate the loading dock below the EOBTC that services the EOB, Circuit Court, and surrounding shops.

Pedestrian access will still be possible to the surrounding buildings. There will be varying amounts of noise created due to construction seven days per week and in the evenings.

To make up for the loss of the normal drop-off area in the traffic circle, there will be a 50-foot, designated drop-off area on Monroe St. on the EOB side of the traffic circle.

The eight-phase project will include selected demolition, removal of plaza surfacing, structural road deck concrete patching, asphalt topping, new waterproofing and new expansion joints. The project also includes replacing all of the landscaping and addressing Americans with Disabilities Act-compliance issues.

Swim but be Safe this Summer at County Pools

Montgomery County Recreation’s seven outdoor pools are now open for the summer season. They are:
  • Bethesda Pool, 301-652-1598, Little Falls Pkwy. and Hillandale Rd.;
  • Germantown Outdoor Pool, 301-601-1690, 18905 Kingsview Rd.;
  • Long Branch Pool, 301-431-5700, 8700 Piney Branch Rd., Silver Spring;
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Outdoor Pool, 301-622-1090, 1201 Jackson Rd., Silver Spring;
  • Wheaton/Glenmont Pool, 301-929-5460, 12621 Dalewood Dr., Wheaton;
  • Upper County Outdoor Pool, 301-840-2446, 8211 Emory Grove Rd., Gaithersburg; and
  • Western County Outdoor Pool, 301-349-2217, 20151 Fisher Ave., Poolesville. 

As the summer swim season gets underway, residents are encouraged to become familiar with the safety rules posted at the pools. Children are at high risk for water-related accidents and it is important that they are closely supervised at all times while in and around the pool.

See a pool safety video.

Because safety is the priority for Recreation Department programs, it may be necessary to temporarily halt admission to pools when capacity is reached. Swimmers will be admitted as soon as space becomes available.

For information about pool amenities or hours of operation at all swimming pools, visit the Recreation Department website.

Spreading the Word about Parking Lot Safety

In a continuing effort to reduce pedestrian collisions in Montgomery County parking lots, teams of County staff and volunteers will be at local parking lots this summer to educate people about ways to improve safety.

The effort is part of a broader campaign to educate drivers and pedestrians about reducing pedestrian collisions in parking lots. In Montgomery County, about one in four pedestrian collisions occurs in parking lots, which can result in debilitating injuries. The goal of the public education campaign is to change attitudes and behaviors in parking lots.

If you’d like to help spread the word about improving parking lot pedestrian safety via social media or through civic, school, religious or neighborhood organizations to which you belong, see our resources on reducing pedestrian collisions in parking lots.

If you’re interested in volunteering to help distribute information in parking lots this summer, contact the Public Information Office.

Police Host Food and Blood Drive on June 2

The public is invited to help give the gift of life by donating blood and help the less fortunate by donating non-perishable food items to the Captain Joseph Mattingly Food Pantry at a Food and Blood drive on June 2 presented by Montgomery County Police. The event will be held at the County’s Public Safety Headquarters (First Floor Conference Room), at 100 Edison Park Dr., Gaithersburg, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Walk-in donors will be accepted, but the preferred method is to make an appointment online. Sign Up.

Updated Transportation Option Information for Seniors and Adults with Disabilities

The message for older adults and adults with disabilities in Montgomery County is clear: the County can help you get around.

The flyer entitled “Explore Your Transportation Options” features a detailed list of services, from providing rides to information on the Senior SmarTrip® Card and free transportation choices for residents going to senior and/or community centers in the County.

See the Explore Your Transportation Options flyer (pdf) or visit County's Senior website.

Summer Entertainment and Education Available through Recreation Department Programs – Be Active, Get Healthy

Wondering what to do with the kids – and yourself – this summer? Montgomery County Recreation invites you to take a look at the variety of offerings in their Summer Guide and Summer Camps Guide.

Because enrollment for the Summer Camps began in January, many have reached peak enrollment. However, it’s still worth checking the guide for what camps still have spaces.

Take a look at the Summer Guide and Summer Camps Guide for any number of opportunities for summer activities for the entire family.

Rockville Memorial Library Starts Extended Summer Hours

Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) has announced that the Rockville Memorial Library, at 21 Maryland Ave., will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, now through September 5.

“Urban libraries like Bethesda, Rockville Memorial and Silver Spring have much they can offer to the nighttime economy of Montgomery County,” said MCPL Director Parker Hamilton. “Rockville Memorial Library is one of the anchors of the Town Center, and we are pleased to offer our services during high traffic hours.”

County Executive Ike Leggett recommended funding for the extra hours at the Rockville Memorial branch, which was approved by the County Council in the FY 2015 budget.

For more information on the evening hours and services at the Rockville Memorial Library, call 240-777-0140. Information about all MCPL branches is available at

New School Immunization Requirements for 2015-2016 School Year Announced

Montgomery County health officials urge parents of students entering seventh and eighth grades to be sure their children show proof of vaccination against Tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis (Tdap) and Meningococcal meningitis (MCV4) prior to the start of the 2015-2016 school year.

Students not in compliance with Maryland vaccination requirements will not be allowed to attend school until they provide documentation of the required Tdap and MCV immunizations. The requirements are in place throughout the State of Maryland.

School health staff is reviewing student health records, and parents of current sixth-grade students received a letter recently advising them of the new requirements.

Parents should contact their doctors to make sure their children are properly immunized and submit a copy of the documentation to the children’s school health nurse as soon as possible, but no later than Monday, August 31 -- the first day of the 2015-2016 school year.

Free Tdap and MCV4 immunizations will be offered to incoming seventh-grade students on Monday, June 15 from 1 to 4 p.m. at specified schools throughout the County.

Appointments are required and can be made at A parent or designated adult must be present with a parent-signed consent form at the time of vaccination.

Law Enforcement Agencies Conduct Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

The Rockville City Police Department and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office will conduct a Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on May 30 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at Police Headquarters, 2 West Montgomery Ave.

The event is a safe, free and anonymous opportunity to dispose of unused, unwanted or expired prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications. Liquids, illicit drugs, needles, sharps and syringes cannot be accepted as part of the take-back program.

The initiative is part of an effort to prevent the increasing problems of prescription drug abuse and theft that continue to occur nationwide.

County Seeks Public Input about Health, Quality of Life Issues

County residents are invited to participate in upcoming community conversations that will give them an opportunity to share their views about how Montgomery County can be a healthier place to live.

Sponsored by Healthy Montgomery, a community-based effort to improve the health and well-being of Montgomery County residents, the “conversations” will help provide input and feedback to complete a community health needs assessment. Each session will last approximately two hours and refreshments will be served.

The next session will be held on Tuesday, June 2, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the UpCounty Regional Services Center, 12900 Middlebrook Rd., Germantown.

See list of other upcoming sessions.

Additional sessions will be announced at a later date. To register, call 240-777-4527 or email

For more information about Healthy Montgomery, go to

Monday, June 1 - 50+ Employment Expo

Retool, Recharge, Reinvent. Marriott Bethesda North Hotel and Conference Center, 5701 Marinelli Rd., North Bethesda. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Keynote Speaker: Meteorologist Tom Kierein
with News4’s weather team. He can be seen weekdays on News4 Today, Newsa4 Midday and on Participants can talk with recruiters from dozens of employers, including nonprofits, government, healthcare, retail and technology. Also learn about resume writing, interviewing skills, surfing the web for jobs, changing careers, online applications, etc. Best practices awards for employers of older workers will be presented. For more information, visit the County Calendar.

Wednesday, June 3 - Share Your Concerns With Sidney

Montgomery County Councilmember Sidney Katz, who represents Council District 3, will meet with residents from the Derwood, Redland and Washington Grove communities in his continuing series of informal meetings. Redland Middle School, 6505 Muncaster Mill Rd., Derwood. 7- 8:30 p.m. Among the topics expected to be discussed are development in the Shady Grove area, education, transportation and public safety. Councilmember Katz, who is a member of the Council’s Public Safety Committee, will share information on the County Police Department’s pilot program to have officers wear body cameras. Call 240-777-7906 or via e-mail at

May 7, 2015

Executive Reconvenes Transit Task Force

County Executive Ike Leggett has announced that he has reconvened the County’s Transit Task Force.

In a letter to Task Force Chair Mark Winston, Leggett asked the group to make recommendations relating to how to “… establish a plan for the implementation of as much of the [high quality bus rapid transit] network as is financially and organizationally feasible.”

Leggett has asked that the Task Force use as the starting point for its deliberations the proposal he made last year for State enabling legislation authorizing the County to adopt certain financing measures and form a transit agency to allow development and operation of the transit network.

The Task Force and Working Groups on organizational and financial matters will meet weekly between now and September 30, the date on which Leggett has asked the Task Force to report its findings and recommendations to him and the County Council.

All Task Force meetings are open to the public. Information on the meetings and the Transit Task Force is available on website.

The Task Force will hold a Countywide public forum on  June 17 at 6 p.m. in the 3rd floor hearing room of the County Council Office Building, 100 Maryland Ave., Rockville.

Read more in the news release.

Global Healthcare Giant GlaxoSmithKlein to Locate New Lab in Rockville

Global healthcare company GlaxoSmithKlein (GSK) has announced plans to open a research and development lab in Rocville, creating possibly up to 1,000 jobs over the next couple years. The new center in Rockville will be one of three for GSK in the world.

Read coverage by The Baltimore Sun, Bethesda Magazine, The Washington Business Journal, The Wall Street Transcript and FierceBiotech,

New Silver Spring Library to Open June 20

The new Silver Spring Library, at 900 Wayne Avenue, will open on Saturday, June 20 at 11 a.m. A Grand Opening ceremony is being planned for the public to celebrate Montgomery County Public Libraries’ (MCPL) newest building in its award-winning system.

More details on the new building project are on the Department of General Services’ construction project website and the MCPL Silver Spring Library website.

Leggett Decides on “New Approach” for County’s Economic Development Efforts

Speaking recently as a panelist at the Washington Business Journal’s first “On the Road” event, County Executive Ike Leggett stated he has decided to transfer the authority away from the County and “put it in the hands of those in the economic development field.” The new responsibility would lie with a public-private authority, similar to Fairfax County’s Economic Development Authority.

The purpose of the new structure is to improve effectiveness, enhance private sector involvement and create a more flexible environment to meet market dynamics and County needs.

Legislation will be sent to the County Council this summer.

See the video.

Business Leaders Unite in Unprecedented Way for Final Purple Line Push

Business leaders from Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, supported by each County’s officials, gathered recently to press for construction of the Purple Line. 

The session, held at the Silver Spring Civic Building, was led by the Greater Washington Board of Trade President and CEO James Dinegar. A newly released economic impact study by Transportation Economics & Management Systems, Inc. (TEMS, Inc.) was presented as part of the message sent to the State about the vital importance of this project.

Check out media coverage of the event in The Post; Bethesda Now; The Sentinel; and The Gazette; and on TV – WJLA- abc7 and MyMCMedia. See The Post editorial.

Status Report on the FY16 Operating Budget

Now that the public hearings on the FY16 Operating Budget are past, the Council is in its work session phase. A status report dated May 1 reflects the work of the Council's six Committees since the public hearings on April 14-16.

See the report.

Garage 31 in Bethesda First to Install Charging Stations for Electric Vehicles

County Executive Ike Leggett (shown above with Acting Director of the Department of Transportation Al Roshdieh) recently unveiled three new electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in the Capital Crescent Garage (Garage 31) at 7171 Woodmont Ave. in Bethesda with the capacity to charge six vehicles.

Garage 31 is the first to be completed in the Department of Transportation’s program to install additional EV stations, capable of charging 26 vehicles, in 11 County parking garages and lots over the next few months.

The EV charging stations operate like gas pumps. Drivers pay 13 cents per kilowatt hour to charge their vehicles, in addition to paying the same parking fee as other vehicles in the garage. The charging station parking spaces are clearly marked and limited to four hours, which should provide enough time to fully charge a vehicle.

The public EV charging stations are connected to the nationwide ChargePoint Network of searchable charging stations and motorists can pay for energy used through a ChargePoint Network card or RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) enabled credit card.

Read the news release for additional information.

Applications Open for Next Police Citizen Academy Session

Montgomery County Police have announced that applications are being accepted on a first-come, first-served basis for the next Citizen Academy, scheduled to begin on August 18.

The 15-week Citizen Academy is offered to increase resident awareness of the function of the Police Department in their community. Participants will learn about topics such as criminal law, Maryland traffic law,  investigations and special units.

Classes will be held on Tuesdays from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at the Public Safety Training Academy, 9710 Great Seneca Hwy., Rockville.

Please note that the class is very popular and, with a class limit of 40 participants, can fill up fast.

Learn more about the Citizen Academy and apply on the website, or for questions, call 240-773-6900.

Note to Pet Owners: Next Rabies Vaccination Clinic, May 17

Under Montgomery County law, all dogs, cats and ferrets over the age of four months must have a current rabies vaccination.

The Police Department’s Animal Services Division offers free rabies vaccination clinics with the purchase of a Montgomery County Pet License on the third Sunday of each month through September. Clinics are held between 8 and 10:30 a.m. at the Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center (MCASAC), 7315 Muncaster Mill Rd., Derwood. Parking at the MCASAC is limited.

Rabies vaccinations for dogs and cats are administered by a veterinarian free for County residents. However, residents must purchase a pet license if their pet does not currently have one. There is a $4 fee for rabies vaccinations for ferrets. For a $10 fee, microchip implantation for dogs and cats with a valid rabies vaccination and pet license will also be offered at the clinics.

Pet owners are asked to make sure dogs are leashed and cats and ferrets are in a carrier or otherwise contained when they are brought in for a vaccination. Because the health of humans, as well as animals, is affected by the rabies virus, failure to vaccinate an animal as required may subject its owner to a $500 fine.

Get more information about the rabies clinics and pet licensing requirements.

Executive to be Honored as a Bridge Builder by InterFaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington

County Executive Ike Leggett will be one of three local leaders to be honored with a 2015 Bridge Builders Award presented by the InterFaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington (IFC) for significantly strengthening interfaith relations in the DC metropolitan area. The awards program will be held at on May 17 at 4 p.m. at the LDS Washington DC Temple Visitors’ Center in Kensington.

The other 2015 honorees are Hindu-American leader Mythili Lee Bachu and social entrepreneur Andy Shallal.

The IFC was established in 1978 to promote dialogue, understanding and a sense of community among people of different faiths and to work cooperatively for social and economic justice in the Washington metropolitan region.

The Bridge Builders Awards program is open to the general public but advance purchase of tickets is required.

For information on tickets to the program or for the reception for the honorees, contact the InterFaith Conference at 202- 234-6301 or via

Law Enforcement Agencies Conduct Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

The Rockville City Police Department and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office will conduct a Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on May 30 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at Police Headquarters, 2 West Montgomery Ave.

The event is a safe, free and anonymous opportunity to dispose of unused, unwanted or expired prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications.  Liquids, illicit drugs, needles, sharps and syringes cannot be accepted as part of the take-back program.

The initiative is part of an effort to prevent the increasing problems of prescription drug abuse and theft that continue to occur nationwide.

Councilmember Riemer Commends County’s Partnership with 1776

Councilmember Hans Riemer (At-Large), the Council’s lead member for digital government and a member of the committee on economic development, has applauded the new partnership between Montgomery County Government and the Washington, DC-based tech incubator 1776.

County officials look to the partnership to significantly expand the County's innovation program in order to modernize County services, as well as foster regional entrepreneurship networks that will strengthen the local economy.

The agreement is the first partnership between 1776, which receives funding from the District of Columbia, and a local government outside of the District. It is part of a groundbreaking effort by the County and 1776 to foster regional economic strategies.

Riemer worked with County Executive Ike Leggett and 1776 to organize a roundtable for local entrepreneurs housed at 1776, which sparked many ideas for how they could join forces.

See more information in the news release.

The County Council’s Ad Hoc Committee on Liquor Control

Last December, Councilmembers Hans Riemer, George Leventhal and Marc Elrich sent a memo to their colleagues requesting that a Council ad hoc committee be created to study the County’s Department of Liquor Control (DLC) and its current system of distributing alcohol to restaurants and retail beer and wine stores.

Since February, the Ad Hoc Committee on Liquor Control has held worksessions to look at five options presented in an Office of Legislative Oversight (OLO) report on the County’s Department of Liquor Control (DLC). The OLO report studied the current system that controls liquor distribution to County-operated retail alcohol stores, to private beer and wine stores and to restaurants.

The committee has heard from George Griffin, director of the Department of Liquor Control; restaurant owners; owners of private beer and wine stores; and representatives of the alcohol industry.

Read the news release for more information..

See the Ad Hoc Committee’s website.

Ordinary People, Extraordinary Hearts Honored by the County’s Correctional Facility

More than 100 dedicated volunteers who bring faith based recovery, life skills, arts and educational assistance programs to the incarcerated population in Montgomery County were honored recently at the Detention Services Division's annual Volunteer Appreciation Ceremony at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility. The theme of the event was “Ordinary People, Extraordinary Hearts.”

For more than 30 years, the Department of Correction and Rehabilitation has hosted the event to recognize and thank volunteers for providing thousands of hours of dedicated support services to the Correctional Facility and to the returning citizens of Montgomery County.

This year’s Volunteer of the Year was Deacon Frank Salatto of St. Raphael Parish in Rockville. Deacon Salatto is a longtime volunteer, with more than 20 years of service who is known for his dedication and always having a kind word of encouragement for staff.

See more about volunteering at the MCCF.

Thursday, May 14 - Effective Communication Strategies; Understanding & Responding to Dementia-Related Behavior

Jubilee Association.10408 Montgomery Ave, Kensington. 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Committee on Aging and Developmental Disabilities celebrates Older Americans 50th Anniversary with a Spring Fling Workshop. Featured Presenter: Lindsey Vajpeyi, Programs and Services manager, Alzheimer’s Association, National Capital Area Chapter. For direct care staff, family members, parents and siblings of individuals with I/DD and who are aging. Share your challenges and own experiences for discussion and problem solving. Light refreshments served. Cost: $10. To RSVP and make payment, contact Tammy Johnson at or 301-949-8628, ext. 121. Registration will be confirmed via email or phone.

Wednesday-Thursday, May 20-21 -- Have You Explored the World of Public Transportation?

Jewish Council for the Aging’s (JCA) “Ride Smart” two-day travel training program. JCA’s office,12320 Parklawn Dr., Rockville. Classroom instruction, plus a day of actual use. Learn how to use public transportation, travel to destinations of your choice, read bus schedules and Metro System maps, understand fare schedules and learn how to save money by using a Senior SmarTrip card. May 20, 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., classroom instruction covers what you need to know (lunch provided). May 21, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., receive a Senior SmarTrip Card and enjoy a free bus and subway group trip. Call 301-738-3252, or e-mail to reserve your seat or register for future dates and locations.

Saturday, May 30 -- Community Fitness Day

Holy Cross Resource Center, 9805 Dameron Dr., Silver Spring. 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Parking available in the parking lot at the Resource Center and along Dameron Dr. Free. A day of fitness with classes including Baby Boomer Boogie, Ballroom/Latin/Swing Dance, Core Strength, Mat Pilates, Muscle Sculpt, Piloxing, Senior Fit, Sweet Dreams – Sleep Matters, Tabata Cardio Explosion, Total Body Stretch, Yoga I and Zumba offered in 30-minute segments throughout the day. Other activities include: Blood pressure screening, body fat screening and BMI, weight management information, seated massage (sign-up required the day of the event). To register, call 301-754-8800 or register at Early registration allows you to reserve a space for your top three fitness class choices. Drop-in registration limited based on available space.