July 11, 2018

Montgomery County Earns First Place in Nation in the 2018 Digital Counties Survey

The  Center for Digital Government (CDG) and the National Association of Counties (NACo) declared Montgomery County as one of five first-place winners in their respective category of the 15th anniversary Digital Counties Survey. Montgomery County won under the “One Million or More Population” category. The County is the first four-time winner of this annual competition and is the only County to be ranked in the top 10 since the survey’s inception in 2003.

The survey, conducted by the CDG, in partnership with NACo, identifies the best technology practices among U.S. counties, including initiatives that streamline delivery of government services, encourage open data, collaboration and shared services, enhance cybersecurity and contribute to disaster response and recovery efforts.

Live Discussion with County Executive Ike Leggett

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett will hold a “virtual” town hall meeting on Thursday, July 19, from 1 to 2 p.m. County residents may submit questions to the County Executive before and during the chat at Live Discussion with Ike Leggett.

Free Immunizations for Incoming 7th Graders

Free Tdap and MCV4 vaccinations are available for incoming seventh-grade students at locations throughout the County during July and August. No appointment is necessary. A parent or designated adult must be present. Please bring a copy of the child’s immunization record to the clinic.

Datawatch Systems Expands Headquarters, Plans 50 New Jobs In Montgomery County

More than 50 new full-time jobs are coming to Montgomery County when Datawatch Systems relocates its headquarters in Montgomery County.

Datawatch Systems is one of the top commercial office security providers in the country. The company is moving its operations to a nearby space on East West Highway in Bethesda, where it will lease 25,000 square feet of space in the coming years. Datawatch Systems currently employs 200 workers in the county.

Formed in 1981, Datawatch Systems remotely monitors hundreds of thousands of doors in more than 4,000 buildings throughout North America. The company began by providing services to customers throughout Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area and has since expanded to various international clients. Today, its portfolio includes Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and more.

To assist with the expansion, the Maryland Department of Commerce is providing a $50,000 training grant through the Partnership for Workforce Quality (PWQ) program, and Montgomery County is providing an $80,000 conditional grant through its Economic Development Fund. The company is also eligible for various tax credits including the state’s Job Creation Tax Credit.

More information about the expansion is available here.
More information about opportunities at Datawatch is available here.

What You Need to Know About High Heat

Summer isn’t even half over and the National Weather Service (NWS) has already issued several heat advisories forecasting temperatures and/or a heat index of over 95 degrees Fahrenheit (F).

Most people know that means it’s going to be hot. But it also is the trigger for the County’s Department of Health and Human Services and Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (OEMHS) to activate the high heat portion of the County’s Extreme Temperature Plan and issue a “Hyperthermia Alert.” When in effect, a Hyperthermia Alert provides special support for the homeless and activates enforcement/protection for animal/pet safety. The public is alerted through various County social media postings.

The County will issue a “Heat Emergency” warning, when the NWS forecasts “Excessive Heat” with a maximum temperature including heat index of 105 degrees F or higher AND includes one or more of these conditions: will last for at least two days, nighttime air temperatures will not drop below 75 degrees F, or other conditions provided by NWS or threats are determined by OEMHS (e.g., large-scale power outages). Along with County social media and website postings, OEMHS will send out a warning through the Alert Montgomery system.

We’ve got a lot of summer left with plenty of potential high heat and humidity days. Please take some time to review these “Surviving the Heat Tips” before the next round of high heat and humidity hits.

Show your Air Conditioner a Little R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Failed air conditioning on a scorching day can turn summer bliss into a sweaty nightmare. Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning expert Al Crutcher, a Major Maintenance Project Manager with Montgomery County’s Department of General Services (DGS), Division of Facilities Management gives us these do-it-at-home tips that may help lower your utility bill, save energy and avoid costly repairs.

Replace dirty clogged filters - dirty filters block airflow and reduce your system’s efficiency. When your cooling system is fighting to pull air through a dirty filter, it makes the system run longer and can increase energy use by five to 15 percent. Running the system with a dirty filter also puts a lot of stress on the entire system and can cause a costly repair. A typical filter only costs a few dollars while a new motor can run $600 - $1,200.

Evaluate the area around the thermostat to ensure it registers correctly. Keep lamps, televisions, or other heat sources away from the thermostat to ensure it reads the accurate room temperature.

Set your thermostat at 78 degrees for energy savings. A lower temperature won’t cool things faster and may result in unnecessary expense. A programmable thermostat allows you to keep your home warmer when you are away and cool it down before you return.

Professional service technicians should check and maintain your system each spring. A certified professional can check your cooling system to clean the coils; check for the correct amount of refrigerant and make sure none is leaking; seal duct leakage in central air conditioning systems; maintain motors, and make sure the thermostat is working properly. This will help ensure your system doesn’t break down on a hot day. Most air conditioning equipment warranties require annual professional maintenance.

Energy savings is good for the environment and for your wallet. According to PEPCO, properly installed high-efficiency heat pumps, furnaces and air conditioning units can help you save on heating and cooling costs year-round and provide more consistent temperatures and humidity control.

Condensers should be maintained to minimize dirt and debris near the condenser unit and keep it clear of bushes to allow adequate airflow. Also take care when using lawn maintenance equipment close to the wires – you don’t want to accidentally cut one.

Turn off your air conditioner when you don’t need it. On days when temperatures are not sweltering, you may be able to stay comfortable by using ceiling fans or opening windows. This helps your wallet and saves energy.

More information about how DGS keeps our County’s 400-plus facilities comfortable and energy efficient are available here.

More home energy saving tips are available here.

MC311 Wants to Hear from You!

MC311, Montgomery County’s Customer Service Center works to ensure residents have information about non-emergency government information and services. To ensure MC311 provides the highest quality customer services, MC311 is conducting a customer service survey.

Click here to participate in the customer service satisfaction survey.

You can reach MC311 by calling 311 in the County or 240-777-0311, 711 for MD Relay TTY, from anywhere, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.

Montgomery County Recreation Launches Redesigned Website

 visit website

Montgomery County Recreation has a new online look and a new web address, www.mocorec.com.

The new web address gives residents easier and quicker reference to reaching Montgomery County Recreation online. The redesigned website provides visitors improved access to information about the recreation department’s centers, events, programs, and services.

Visit the new website here.

MCDOT Hosts Open House on “NextGen TDM” Proposals to Support Multi-Modal Options

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) wants to hear from you about the proposed changes to requirements in the County Code and accompanying Executive Regulations for implementation of multi-modal programs in new development projects and for employers of certain sizes.

The open house will be held Monday, July 16, from 5 – 8 p.m. in the Lobby Auditorium of the Executive Office Building located at 101 Monroe Street in Rockville. Brief presentations summarizing the proposed changes will be provided at 5:30, 6:15 and 7 p.m. Explanatory materials will be on display and staff will be available to discuss the proposed revisions.

MCDOT has worked with other County agencies, County Council staff and the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission to draft revisions to Chapter 42A, Article II, “Transportation Demand Management” of the County Code. These existing Transportation Demand Management (TDM) provisions establish the authority for Transportation Management Districts (TMDs) and describe actions required of new developments and employers in those districts to help reduce traffic impacts and promote multi-modal options.

The proposed changes will be included in a bill to revise Code provisions planned for introduction at County Council, along with draft Executive Regulations. Proposed revisions and related materials are posted on MCDOT’s Commuter Services webpage at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/commute. Feedback forms will be available for those attending the open house. Comments can also be emailed to mcdot.commuterservices@montgomerycountymd.gov. Additional opportunities for input will be provided at a public hearing on the bill to be scheduled in the fall and through the Executive Regulation process.

For more information and copies of the materials go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/commute.

Summer of Safety A to Z

Hopefully everyone is taking advantage of the online safety tips resource, “Summer of Safety A to Z,” located on the County’s website at: www.montgomerycountymd.gov/summersafety.

The County’s Public Information Office created this one-stop resource that offers all kinds of great information, in an easy to find, alphabetical format. Throughout the summer we’ll highligh tips from the site through tweets with #MoCoSafety and post them on the County’s Facebook page. We may also tweet out additional important safety-related information using that hashtag.

This is all good information that our community members can benefit from knowing, so please continue to follow the #MoCoSafety tweets.

Most importantly, if you haven’t already signed up to receive Alert Montgomery emergency messages. Check out the very first Summer of Safety tip and click here to sign up for this critical service.

Celebrate Park and Recreation Month in July

Celebrate Park and Recreation Month during the month of July in Montgomery County.

This year’s theme, A Lifetime of Discovery, encourages you to explore area parks and discover new activities.

To get you started, Montgomery Parks has an online calendar with suggestions for daily activities.

The month-long celebration concludes on Tuesday, July 31 with a free popsicle social hosted by Montgomery Parks and Montgomery County Recreation from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Plum Gar Neighborhood Recreation Center located at 19561 Scenery Drive in Germantown. The event is open to the public.

For more information about Park and Recreation Month, visit the Montgomery Parks website.

Chautauqua 2018 at Montgomery College Celebrates “Seeking Justice”

Frederick Douglass, Thurgood Marshall, and Eleanor Roosevelt come alive this summer at Montgomery College’s annual Chautauqua celebration. Actors/scholars will portray the historical figures, bringing to life this year’s theme of “Seeking Justice,” at the three-night, family-friendly event.

The event will be held at the Germantown Campus located at 20200 Observation Drive in Globe Hall in the High Technology and Science Center. Performances will be held July 11 through 13 beginning at 7 p.m.

Performances are free and open to the public. The events open with live local musical and theatrical acts. The living history performances are followed by question and answer sessions.

More information and a complete schedule is available here.

Public Invited to Rate New Benches and Trash Receptacles for Future Installation in Downtown Silver Spring

Trash Receptacles
Samples of proposed designs are in Royce Hanson Park outside Planning Department for the public to experience and rank online through the Montgomery Planning website

The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) is updating the Silver Spring Streetscape Standards, which were first issued in 1979.

The Standards guide the design of sidewalk elements between the street curbs and buildings in downtown Silver Spring. These components include paving, planting, lighting and streetscape furnishings, such as benches, trash receptacles, recycling bins and bike racks.

The Planning Department installed several benches and trash receptacles in Royce Hanson Park, which is located next to the Montgomery County Planning Department located at 8787 Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring. They will remain in the park through July 31.

Residents are invited to use the furniture and provide feedback. These rankings will help planners determine the furnishings to specify in the updated Silver Spring Streetscape Standards.

More information about how to participate in the survey is available here.