December 10, 2019

County Executive Marc Elrich Signs First Racial Equity and Social Justice Act

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich signed the Racial Equity and Social Justice Act on Tuesday, Dec. 3. Montgomery County is the first jurisdiction in Maryland to sign racial equity legislation, which ensures all residents are welcome, treated with respect and have opportunities to succeed. Elrich was joined by newly elected County Council President Sidney Katz and Vice President Tom Hucker, councilmembers and community leaders.

County Council recently approved the act, which aims to establish the formal process to address racial equity and social justice issues in the County. The legislation requires the County to establish an Office of Racial Equity and Social Justice in the Executive Branch; establishes a racial equity and social justice action plan for the County; requires each Department and Office to develop a racial equity and social justice action plan; requires the Office of Legislative Oversight to submit a racial equity and social justice impact statement to the Council for each bill; establishes a Racial Equity and Social Justice Committee and sets forth the composition and duties of the committee; and requires the Planning Board to consider the racial equity and social justice impact when preparing a Master Plan.
  • Watch the news conference here.
  • See more pictures from Flickr here.

Holiday Schedule for Christmas and New Year’s Day

Montgomery County government will observe the following holiday schedule for the Christmas and New Year’s Day holidays:
  • County Offices – closed Dec. 25 and Jan. 1.
  • Libraries – closed Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. Dec. 24 and 31: branches close at 6 p.m.
  • Alcohol Beverage Services (ABS) – stores closed Dec. 25 and Jan. 1.
  • Recreation – programs and facilities closed Dec. 25 and Jan. 1.
  • Montgomery Parks - visit
  • Ride On – Dec. 24: Ride On operates from the route endpoints until 10 p.m.; runs starting from the endpoints after 10 p.m. will not operate. Dec. 25 and Jan. 1: Ride On operates on a Sunday schedule.
  • Ride On Flex – Dec. 24 and Dec. 31: Ride On Flex operates on normal operations. Dec. 25 and Jan. 1: Ride On Flex has no operations.
  • Metrorail and Metrobus – visit
  • TRiPS Commuter Store (Silver Spring) – closed Dec. 25 and Jan. 1.
  • TRiPS Mobile Commuter Store – closed Dec. 25 and Jan. 1.
  • Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station – closes 3 at p.m. on Dec. 24; closed Dec. 25. Closes at 3 p.m. on Dec. 31; closed Jan. 1.
  • County-provided refuse/recycling pickup – County-provided trash and recycling collection is canceled Dec. 25. After the holiday, County-provided recycling and trash collections will slide by one day later than normal, with last collection on Saturday, Dec. 28. County-provided trash and recycling collection is canceled Jan. 1. After the holiday, County-provided recycling and trash collections will slide one day later than normal, with the last collection on Saturday, Jan. 4.
  • Parking at public garages, lots, curbside meters – normal parking fees and regulations in effect on Dec. 24 and Dec. 31. Parking will be free on Dec. 25 and Jan. 1.
  • State offices and courts – closed Dec. 25 and Jan. 1.

Montgomery County Council Elects Sidney Katz as President, Tom Hucker as Vice President

The Montgomery County Council unanimously elected Councilmember Sidney Katz as president and Councilmember Tom Hucker as vice president of the Council on Tuesday, Dec. 3. Each will serve one-year terms as officers of the Council. Katz just completed a one-year term as Council vice president.

Council President Katz’s priorities for the year include: continuing to make Montgomery County more business friendly; generating employment opportunities that bring well-paying jobs to the County; continuing to support Montgomery County Public Schools, so that students receive the best education possible; and supporting efforts to expand multimodal transportation solutions. He also noted that he wants to accomplish these goals while focusing on the need to reduce the County’s debt.

Hucker serves as chair of the Council’s Transportation and Environment Committee and as a member of the Public Safety Committee. Hucker was elected to the Council in 2014 and represents District 5, which includes the southeast and eastern portion of the County generally surrounding U.S. Route 29, including Briggs Chaney, Burnt Mills, Burtonsville, Calverton, Cloverly, Colesville, Fairland, Four Corners, Hillandale, Lyttonsville, Silver Spring, Takoma Park and White Oak.

More information on the newly elected officers is available here.

Montgomery County’s Priorities for the 2020 Maryland General Assembly Session

The Office of Intergovernmental Relations has released Montgomery County’s Priorities for the session of the Maryland General Assembly, which will convene on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020. 

Highlights include the Kirwan Commission recommendations, public school construction, I–495\I–270 traffic mitigation and the state preemption of the local authority.

Read the full outline of the County's priorities here

County Executive Marc Elrich Visited to Legendary Music Store in Wheaton to Promote Small Business Saturday

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich visited one of the County’s local business and music staples, Chuck Levin’s Washington Music Center on Small Business Saturday. Chuck Levin’s is a place where musicians have visited while in the D.C. area, including jazz bassist Ron Carter, jazz guitarist Pat Martino, Grammy award winner Marcus Miller, and trumpet icon Doc Severinsen. 

This visit was part of the County Executive’s effort to support local merchants in our community and shop at small businesses around the County. Small Business Saturday campaign takes place the Saturday following Thanksgiving. Small Business Saturday, developed 10 years ago by American Express and is now sponsored by the Small Business Administration,

Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center is Sending Out a Holiday SOS

Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center will waive the adoption fees for all animals during the fourth Annual Holiday SOS Adoption Event. The event is scheduled Thursday, Dec. 12 through Sunday, Dec. 15. Montgomery County Partners for Animal Wellbeing will cover the adoption fees. There are more than 200 animals currently searching for a home for the holidays, from dogs and cats, to guinea pigs, turtles, and birds.

The adoption center will be open for the event on Thursday and Friday from noon to 6 p.m. and noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Families who adopt animals on Saturday, Dec 14 can get a free photo with Santa.

It is recommended that potential adopters look at the pre-adoption checklist prior to coming to the center to make sure they are prepared. Animals currently searching for their forever home can be found on the website.

County Executive Marc Elrich Outlines His Position on Affordable Housing

Earlier this year, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments published a report, which estimates the growing need for affordable housing in the region. For Montgomery County, unlike the District of Columbia and Fairfax County, the report predicted that three out of four future residents would require subsidized housing because of low wages.

Here is an excerpt from a recent Washington Post op-ed from County Executive Marc Elrich:
“I will not accept that view of the future, and no elected leader should. So let’s be clear: We need to attack the problem of affordability from both the high costs of housing and the inadequacy of wages, and that is how I intend to proceed. Leadership requires defining the future we want and committing resources to realize it. The future I commit to includes residents across the income continuum, with housing affordable to them; it also includes education that prepares our workforce for well-paying jobs and support for economic development that retains and attracts companies that offer those jobs. From our growing bio-tech companies to our efforts to grow manufacturing, we are working to strengthen our job market with higher-paying jobs. That is not magical thinking; that is solution-based reality.”
Read the entire op-ed: Montgomery County lives in the real world of affordable housing here.

Montgomery County Farmers Meet With U.S. Senator Ben Cardin

Dozens of Montgomery County farmers recently met with U.S. Senator Ben Cardin. The meeting took place at the Agricultural History Farm Park, which is home to the County Office of Agriculture located at 18410 Muncaster Road in Derwood.

Jeremy Criss, director of the County Office of Agriculture, moderated the session in which Senator Cardin addressed concerns of farmers locally and nationwide. Senator Cardin actively works on farm issues in Congress.

The farmers emphasized that the process for migrant workers from other nations, especially those who intend to work in the U.S. only seasonally has become increasingly difficult. This makes it harder for County farmers to work their land and harvest their crops.

Senator Cardin indicated he is aware of the needs of farmers to have broadband access to operate better in a digital world. Montgomery County is currently working to obtain federal and state funding to expand broadband in the County’s Agricultural Reserve.

Senator Cardin praised Maryland farmers for taking steps—some of them costly—to protect the Chesapeake Bay and said the actions of Maryland farmers are the main reason the health of the Bay has greatly improved.

To learn more about Montgomery County’s farm economy, go to

Give the Gift of Volunteering this Holiday Season

The gift of kindness is one way to share the spirit of giving during the holiday season. Volunteering can make a world of difference for those in our community.

If you are looking for a way to help during the holidays, Montgomery County's Holiday Giving Program is a large network of partners providing holiday meals and gifts to more than 9,000 families in need. Find their requests and more ways to help with the " Holiday Needs " filter on our website.

Also, think GREEN for the holidays with DEP's Gift Outside the Box Campaign. Check out the Volunteering Coupon as a wonderful holiday gift.

County Executive Marc Elrich Participates in Early Care and Education Initiative Community Forum

Early Education

County Executive Marc Elrich and other community leaders recently joined dozens of community members for a conversation about early care and education priorities and initiatives. The meeting hosted in partnership with the Office of the County Executive, the County Council, Montgomery College, and Montgomery County Public Schools took place on Monday, Nov. 25. The shared goal for the initiative is to ensure that children get what they need to thrive in the early years and to succeed at other stages in life.

The Early Care and Education Initiative is a four-year plan to gather recommendations and identify action steps to significantly expand child care options for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, to provide greater access to care for more families, and to support our schools and community-based providers in providing high-quality services for young children.

Montgomery County Alcohol Beverage Services Increases Enforcement Efforts During Holiday Season

Montgomery County Alcohol Beverage Services’ alcohol inspectors will increase concentrated efforts on alcohol law compliance at the County’s nearly 1,100 licensed alcohol establishments during the holiday season to deter underage alcohol access and over service.

During compliance checks, youth will work with inspectors and police, who conduct compliance checks jointly. The youth attempt to use their vertical identification to purchase alcohol at a licensed establishment. If a sale is made, an administrative violation against the liquor license is given and a criminal citation is issued to the individual seller.

Reducing the availability of alcohol to underage users can help reduce crime and protect youth from the dangers of alcohol. Research shows the earlier young people start drinking, the more likely they will become alcohol dependent later in life.

Montgomery County police are coordinating a Holiday Task Force through Saturday, Jan. 4. The program brings together officers from multiple jurisdictions in a coordinated effort to enforce impaired driving laws.

Learn more about efforts to keep drivers safe during the holidays.

Stay Safe this Holiday Season and Throughout the New Year

With all the hustle-bustle of this time of the year, you will want to be extra vigilant to keep you and your loved ones safe.

Be Seen: If you are buying a new winter coat, consider purchasing a light-colored one, or at the very least, wear a white scarf and white gloves. Look for athletic clothing with reflective patches and check out what is available at running stores that increase visibility. Don’t assume that because you see a vehicle, that the driver sees you.

Be Alert: Pay attention when walking or driving. Remember, Maryland is a Hands-Free state: no texting or even holding a cell phone while driving is allowed. Distracted driving is a leading cause of collisions. And, when walking by a roadway or crossing streets, don’t wear earbuds or look at a cell phone.

Be Responsible: Don’t drink and drive. Responsible party hosts ensure that no guest drives after drinking and will enforce a zero-tolerance for alcohol use by guests under age 21.

Read more safety tips here.

New Life for Christmas Trees

Montgomery County residents are reminded that when the holidays are over, they can recycle their live Christmas trees.

The Department of Environmental Protection’s Recycling and Resource Management Division advises residents of single-family homes, who receive county-provided collection service, to place their live trees at the curb on their regular recycling collection day. Businesses and residents of apartments and condominiums should check with their property/business managers or representatives for specific Christmas tree recycling instructions.

The trees are given a new life after being composted or chipped for mulch. For more information on Christmas tree recycling visit the DEP website.

Call for Student Filmmakers for an Anti-Vaping PSA

Montgomery County middle and high school students are encouraged to create an original video public service announcement (PSA) as part of the County’s anti-vaping campaign. Co-sponsored by Healthy Montgomery, the County’s community health improvement program, and Montgomery County Public Schools, the goal of the contest is to promote awareness of the dangers of vaping (the use of e-cigarettes) among students.

Winning submissions will earn prizes and present their video at a County Council session. Submissions are due by Friday, Dec. 20.

Students can enter the contest on their own or as a group; however, students may only participate in one entry. The winning PSAs will be announced in February and cash prizes will be given to the first, second and third place entries. Prizes will also be given to the fourth and fifth place. An expert judging panel will review submissions.

Learn more about entry rules and submission instructions on the Healthy Montgomery website.

The contest is made possible by the support of Trinity Health, Holy Cross Health and the Institute for Public Health Innovation through Trinity Health’s Transforming Communities Initiative.

Montgomery County Green Bank Celebrates Completion of Its Supported Major Energy Savings Project in Bethesda

The Montgomery County Green Bank, a nonprofit created by the County as the first local green bank in the country and as one of only about a dozen green banks of any kind in the nation, joined several partners to celebrate the completion of a major energy savings project in Bethesda on Thursday, Dec. 12. County Executive Marc Elrich and County Councilmembers Andrew Friedson and Tom Hucker are among those who attended the ceremonies on the historic property that now houses the Glascock Office Building.

The Glascock Office Building is located at 425 Barlow Pl. in Bethesda. The ceremonies took place in its indoor atrium. The building is occupied by four conservation organizations—the Nature Conservancy, the Wildlife Society, the American Fisheries Society and the American Society of Photogrammetry. The building’s energy efficiency improvements were undertaken with their missions in mind.

The Green Bank was authorized by actions of the County Council in 2015, when County Executive Elrich was a Councilmember. Using a portion of the $25 million in capital provided from settlement money that came to the County from the 2016 acquisition of Pepco Holdings Inc. by Exelon Corp., the Green Bank created its first offering—the Commercial Loan for Energy Efficiency and Renewables (CLEER) program.

The CLEER program bridges a financing gap for energy efficiency, solar photovoltaic and energy storage projects in office, retail, light industrial, common ownership communities and multifamily rental properties that are not fully covered by existing programs. The CLEER program brought new lending institutions into the clean energy financing market by creating risk-sharing partnerships supported by Green Bank funds.

Learn more about the Green Bank here.