March 15, 2018

County Executive Ike Leggett Releases His Final Recommended Fiscal Year 2019 Operating Budget

County Executive Ike Leggett released his final recommended fiscal year 2019 operating budget of $5.56 billion on Thursday, March 15. The proposed budget increases County spending on the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) by $75 million and holds property taxes at the Charter Limit by reducing the tax rate by 1.98 cents per $100 assessed valuation.

Leggett’s budget reflects the suggestions and feedback provided by hundreds of residents at County events and meetings including Leggett’s five budget forums held in January and February.

Closing Budget Falls
Closing Budget Falls
 Controlling County Government Spending
Controlling County Government Spending
 Ensuring Adequate Reserves
Ensuring Adequate Reserves
 Holding Down Property Taxes
Holding Down Property Taxes
 Keeping Down Total Tax Burden
Keeping Down Total Tax Burden
 Safer Streets by Investing in Police
Safer Streets by Investing in Police

March 14, 2018

Green Business Certification Program Expands to Include Farms Implementing Comprehensive Sustainability Practices

Farm operations certified through the USDA Organic and/or Certified Naturally- Grown programs are now included in the County’s Green Business Directory along with approximately 80 other businesses.

Both the USDA Organic and Certified Naturally-Grown standards require a full commitment to organic practices – no synthetic pesticides, fertilizers or genetically engineered seeds – and include a focus on building and conserving soil nutrients through compost, cover crops, crop rotation and other practices.

The following certified Farms are now included in the County’s Green Business Directory
The Green Business Certification Program is managed by the County’s Department of Environmental Protection in partnership with the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce (MCCC) and Montgomery College. This voluntary recognition program

helps County businesses green their operations and prosper in the new green economy by encouraging local consumers and other businesses to consider Certified Green Businesses when making purchasing decisions.

Read more about the Green Business Certification Program HERE.

Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony Scheduled to Reopen the Montgomery County Public Libraries White Oak Branch

Montgomery County Public Libraries White Oak Library will reopen with a special ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday, April 2 at 10 a.m. The White Oak Branch is located at 11701 New Hampshire Ave. in Silver Spring.

Partial funding for the project was provided by the County Library Capital Grant Program, Maryland State Library, as authorized by the Maryland General Assembly and supported by the Montgomery County Delegation.

Foster Parents are Needed to Make a Difference for Montgomery County Children

Montgomery County children of all ages need foster homes. Foster parenting is not only a form of community service, it is a form of giving and sacrifice that can result in the most rewarding experiences one can hope for.

Last year almost two hundred children in Montgomery County were temporarily separated from their parents. These children come from a cross-section of the community--from a variety of social and economic backgrounds, from every race, religion, and nationality. Their ages range from infancy to young adulthood.

Information meetings are held monthly in Rockville, or you can learn more at

Bus Rapid Transit Open Houses

Montgomery County Department of Transportation will host three Open Houses for residents to provide information and learn more about the Bus Rapid Transit on US 29 project.

Schedule for the Open Houses:

Thursday, March 15 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Silver Spring Civic Center, 1 Veterans Plaza

Tuesday, March 20 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
White Oak Community Center, 1700 April Lane, Silver Spring

Wednesday, March 21 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Blair High School, 51 University Blvd E, Silver Spring

Visit website for more information.

Spring is in the Air and the Cherry Blossoms are Coming to Montgomery County

Montgomery County is a great place to be if you want to enjoy and photograph the cherry blossoms this spring. The County has hundreds of cherry trees, which will bloom over the next few weeks at over two dozen locations.

For more information about the flowering trees, and a map that will guide you to the parks where they are located, visit the Montgomery Parks website here.

First County-level Green Bank’s Program Expands the Market for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in Montgomery County

Montgomery County Green Bank has announced the launch of its first financing program for businesses and commercial property owners. Commercial Loan for Energy Efficiency and Renewables (CLEER), a new lending program with partners Revere Bank and Ascentium Capital LLC., aims to support commercial and industrial businesses that plan to make clean energy or energy efficiency upgrades to their properties in Montgomery County.

Through the CLEER program, these lenders, commercial contractors, and Montgomery County Green Bank will work together to bridge the financing gap for energy efficiency, solar PV and energy storage projects in office, retail, light industrial and multifamily rental properties that are not currently covered by existing programs.

CLEER is the first program unveiled by Montgomery County Green Bank as part of the organization’s overall mission to increase energy efficiency and renewable energy generation in Montgomery County.

Read more about the Green Bank by visiting

Visit Montgomery, MD Celebrates 35 Years with New Brand Identity and Logo

Visit Montgomery, the official destination marketing organization for Montgomery County has a new brand identity and logo. The new brand offers a richer articulation of the organization’s mission and vision and uses a broad spectrum of colors and imagery to reflect the County’s diverse downtown and upcountry flavor.

This year marks the 35th anniversary of the organization’s founding. Montgomery County’s close proximately to Washington, D.C., and accessibility to outdoor adventures, historic sites, local cuisine, and world-class cultural attractions are a draw for visitors seeking a comfortable and affordable weekend getaway destination.

Get a preview of the new look and read more at

BioHealth Innovation, Inc. Recognized as Leading Business Center

BioHealth Innovation, Inc. (BHI) has received the International Business Innovation Association (InBIA)’s January 2018 IMPACT Award in Biotech/Cleantech for the management of four spaces for early-stage companies: the Germantown Innovation Center, the Rockville Innovation Center, LaunchLabs, and the BHI International Innovation Center. BHI supports global growth in Montgomery County by assisting foreign companies to have a starting point to create or locate their U.S.- based subsidiaries.

The award is based on a variety of metrics including affiliations and partnerships, application and graduation, facilities, mission and goals. This recognition enables this innovation activity to be considered with other leading entrepreneurial centers across the country as a finalist for the InBIA’s annual Incubator of the Year Awards.

Read more about Montgomery County’s successful global hub at the County’s Department of Economic Development website.

Read more about the award at BioHealth Innovation Receives InBIA January IMPACT Award

Sixth Annual Bethesda Film Festival Returns to Bethesda

The sixth annual Bethesda Film Festive will feature five short documentaries made by local filmmakers. The films will screen at Imagination Stage located at 4908 Auburn Ave. in Bethesda on Friday, April 6 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, April 7 at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

The films selected for the screening include: 
  • Aiven by Enrique Huaiquil from Silver Spring
  • Mama Rwanda by Laura Waters Hinson from Washington, D.C.
  • Pot of Gold: The Origin of Japanese Bidet by Daiei Onoguchi from Bethesda
  • Sisterly by Nina Vallado, from Silver Spring
  • Two Steps Back by R. Kayeen Thomas from Washington, D.C.
Each screening will be followed by a question-and-answer discussion with the filmmakers.

Ultimate Destination: Maryland SoccerPlex

The Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds has been named an ultimate destination and venue for soccer and lacrosse by Sports Events magazine.

The Maryland SoccerPlex has 24 fields and it is the setting for 11 soccer and lacrosse tournaments each year. The facility hosts approximately 650,000 people annually, and that generates an economic impact of over $23 million for Montgomery County and the State of Maryland from out of town visitors, according to Executive Director Trish Heffelfinger.

On Saturday, March 17, the Maryland SoccerPlex hosts the DC United home opener game against the Houston Dynamo. For more information, visit the Maryland SoccerPlex website.

Montgomery County Commission on Aging Wants to Hear From You

Come learn about how Montgomery County is becoming even more Age-Friendly! The Montgomery County Commission on Aging (COA) serves as an advocate for the health, safety, and well-being of the County's older residents. The COA would like to hear from you at the upcoming public forum scheduled for Wednesday, March 28 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

The meeting will be held at the Silver Spring Civic Building located at 1 Veterans Plaza. To R.S.V.P., please call or email Tremayne Jones at 240-777-1120.  

March 1, 2018

Resident Survey Shows Montgomery County as Desirable Place to Live, Rates County Services

An independent survey commissioned by Montgomery County shows residents rate the County as a desirable place to live, raise children, work and enjoy a good quality of life.

The survey gives high marks to most County services while indicating there are areas for improvement in affordable housing, cost of living and traffic congestion. Boulder, Colorado-based National Research Center conducted the study.

To read more about the study go to press release: Resident Survey Shows Strong Support for Montgomery County as Desirable Place to Live, Gives High Marks to County Services.

Leggett Hails Opening of Viela Bio, MedImmune Spin-Out

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett hails the announcement that Viela Bio, a newly-formed spin-out of MedImmune, the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca, will be based in Gaithersburg. This will create 100 jobs within three to five years.

Viela Bio will take its place alongside the many other successful biotech firms located in the County. Viela Bio’s work will focus on developing medicines for severe autoimmune diseases by targeting critical pathways at the root cause of disease. The company has announced a Series A financing with up to $250 million in investment capital.

Read more Here.

Press release from the Office of Governor Larry Hogan at New Biotech Company, Viela Bio, Launches in Maryland

More information from Viela Bio at Viela Bio Spins Out of MedImmune; Launches with Up to $250 Million Series A Financing from Investor Consortium Led by Boyu Capital, 6 Dimensions Capital, and Hillhouse Capital

Study Shows Amazon Second Headquarters in Montgomery County Would Bring $17 Billion in Economic Activity to Maryland and Create More than 50,000 High-Paying Jobs  

On January 18, Amazon announced that Montgomery County is a finalist to be considered for Amazon’s second headquarters (HQ2). The company plans to invest $5 billion in the project, which will ultimately create 50,000 new direct, high-paying jobs.

A new economic impact study commissioned by the Maryland Department of Commerce and Montgomery County confirms that the Amazon’s HQ2 would bring extensive benefits to Montgomery County, Maryland and the entire region.

Amazon’s HQ2 will contribute $17 billion per year in additional activity to Maryland’s economy and $7.7 billion in annual wages when fully operational. Furthermore, the project would support 101,000 total jobs and produce $280 million in additional County tax receipts each year and $483 million in annual state tax receipts according to the analysis, which was conducted by Baltimore-based Sage Policy Group, Inc.

The analysis also examined benefits to the state while the headquarters project is being built. During the construction phase alone, HQ2 would support another 50,000 jobs, pay nearly $3 billion in wages, and spur nearly $7.4 billion in additional business sales. Tax revenues during construction are projected to exceed $110 million at the County level and $190 million at the state level, according to the study.

Former Silver Spring Library to Be Reused as a Child Care Center; Agreement Leverages Senior Housing

Martha B. Gudelsky Child Development Center will develop the former Silver Spring Library site for use as a child development and education center. As part of the arrangement, Global LifeSci Development Corporation agreed to provide Victory Housing a pad site in Phase 1 and the VIVA White Oak development for the construction of a senior housing project that is transit-accessible and projected to include 110 units, some market rate but most affordable.

Both Victory House and the Global LifeSci Development Corporation had submitted proposals to Montgomery County for the reuse of the old library site.

The child care center, which will serve 120 mostly low-income children, is projected to be open by the end of 2020. Victory Housing’s senior housing would be completed by 2021.

Read more at: LEGGETT ANNOUNCES PLAN FOR REUSE OF FORMER SILVER SPRING LIBRARY; Child Care Center at Former Library to Leverage Senior Housing in White Oak

Free Employment Expo for Adults 50 and Older Scheduled for April 16

Mark your calendar for the free 50+ Employment Expo coming on April 16 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The free event will be held at the North Bethesda Marriott Hotel & Conference Center located at 5701 Marinelli Road.

Recruiters from dozens of employers, including nonprofits, government, healthcare, retail technology and more will attend the expo. In addition, there will be seminars and continuing education sessions available to assist with things such as completing applications, resume preparation, changing careers, job training, website lists and more.

Leon Harris, anchor for News4 at 4, will serve as the Keynote Speaker.

Free parking and nearby access to the Metro Red Line at the White Flint Station is available. For more information go to 50+ Employment Expo.

Silver Spring Civic Building Great Hall Renamed to Honor 92nd Infantry Buffalo Soldiers

The Great Hall of the Silver Spring Civic Building located at One Veterans Plaza is officially renamed The Buffalo Soldiers Great Hall. Community members joined Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett, Montgomery County councilmembers, other local leaders and County officials for a renaming ceremony on February 27.

The Buffalo Soldiers Great Hall is dedicated to honor the heroic courage and sacrifice of the 92nd Infantry Buffalo Soldiers, a segregated unit of African Americans, during World War II.

James Harden Daugherty, a longtime Silver Spring resident and Buffalo Soldier who passed away in 2015, was recognized at the dedication ceremony. Daugherty served in the Army’s 92nd Infantry Division and when he returned home wrote a book about his experiences titled, “The Buffalo Saga.” Daugherty’s book and other memorabilia are now on display at the Silver Spring Civic Building.

More information about the celebration is available HERE.

Librarian and Best-Selling Author Nancy Pearl Joins the Contemporary Conversations@ Montgomery County Public Library Series

Librarian, best-selling author, literary critic and radio and television personality, Nancy Pearl is the featured guest for Montgomery County Public Libraries next Contemporary Conversation series. The free event will take place March 25 at 6 p.m. at the Rockville Memorial Library located at 21 Maryland Ave.

Pearl is a regular commentator about books on NPR’s Morning Edition and author of the Book Lust books. She is the inspiration for the Archie McPhee "Librarian Action Figure.” An avid reader, Pearl has spent her life promoting reading as one of the most beneficial and joyful experiences anyone can have.

Contemporary Conversations engages residents in enriching conversations about cultural and current issues with experienced authors and journalists. In this thought-provoking discussion, Pearl will share the origins of her love of reading and libraries, and what she’s discovered the perils of a life of reading can be. Along the way, she will suggest some great books to read.

Registration is required for this free event. Registration and more information are available here.

Montgomery County Ranked Most Culturally Diverse and Best Places to Live

Montgomery County continues to earn national rankings as one of the best places to live.  Montgomery County’s rich cultural diversity is recognized by a 2018 WalletHub study, which ranked Gaithersburg as the nation’s second most culturally diverse city in the U.S. Germantown is ranked as the third, Silver Spring as the fourth and Rockville ranked ninth.  The WalletHub study compared more than 500 of the largest U.S. cities using three key metrics: racial and ethnic diversity, language diversity and U.S. region-of-birth diversity.

Rockville is named as the best place to live in Maryland, by “Money” magazine. “Money” cited Rockville’s “low unemployment and an ultra-low crime rate” as attractive to newcomers, as well as its high-ranking schools, shopping, and amenities, which “help preserve its hometown appeal.”

To view the WalletHub study, go to 2018’s Most & Least Ethnically Diverse Cities in the U.S.
To view the “Money” article, go to Best Place to Live in Every State

2018 Girl Power Contest Entries Now Open

Montgomery County’s Commission for Women will begin accepting entries it's their 2018 Women’s History Month Contest on March 1. This year’s theme is “The First U.S. President”.

Short stories, poems, drawings or other creative expression mediums that convey thoughts about the first female president are encouraged for entry. Submissions will be accepted through March 31. The top entries will be featured on the Montgomery County Commission for Women website.

More information is available at 2018 Girl Power Contest.

Call for Exhibitors and Vendors for Montgomery County GreenFest Scheduled for May 5 at Jesup Blair Local Park in Silver Spring

Area exhibitors and vendors are invited to apply to become one of the 100 groups to participate in Montgomery County GreenFest, which is the County’s largest environmental festival. The event will take place on Saturday, May 5 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Jesup Blair Local Park located at 900 Jesup Blair Drive in Silver Spring.

The annual celebration attracts thousands of attendees. Businesses, non-profit organizations, farmers, artisans and food truck vendors who want to have their organization and products seen by hundreds of County residents must apply online at

For more information or to register as an exhibitor, go to

Calling Middle and High School Talented Youth for “MoCo’s Got Talent” Auditions

The County’s Department of Recreation invites middle and high school youth to audition for a chance to perform on the stage at the Fillmore Silver Spring. The top performers from each audition will be invited to the semifinals on April 28. The 12 finalists will perform at the “MoCo’s Got Talent” finale scheduled to be held at The Fillmore Silver Spring on May 20.

This is the fifth year for this youth countywide talent competition that encourages students to showcase their talents. Young people are encouraged to audition in the three categories of music, dance, and visual arts.

Auditions will take place at various locations throughout the County. The auditions are free, but registration is required. Audition dates and registration information is available Here.