January 23, 2020

County Executive Marc Elrich Proposes Record Funding for Affordable Housing and Highlights Accomplishments in State of the County Address

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich, in his first ‘State of the County’ address, outlined his first-year accomplishments and the direction the County will take as it continues to move forward.

Elrich underscored that affordable housing, equitableness, and economic development are top priorities that he will address in the upcoming year. He unveiled his proposal to remedy the County’s lack of affordable housing with a record spending initiative.  

County Executive Marc Elrich Releases Recommended Fiscal Years 2021-26 Capital Improvements Program

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich introduced his first recommended $4.23 billion Fiscal Years 2021-26 Capital Improvements Program (CIP) and FY21 Capital budget to address the County’s major needs over the next six years.

Despite constrained resources, Elrich’s proposed CIP program includes significant investments in public schools, Montgomery College, transportation, pedestrian safety, economic development, affordable housing and climate change initiatives.

The recommended CIP for all County agencies (excluding the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission) represents a decrease of $141.9 million (3.2 percent) from the FY19-24 amended CIP.

The recommended CIP includes $1.71 billion over the six-year period for Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), which represents 94.3 percent of the school system’s request. MCPS represents the recommended CIP’s largest expenditure category and Elrich’s highest priority with 40.5 percent of the total CIP.

The CIP includes $152 million to preserve and increase affording housing options, including a record $132 million over the next six years for the Affordable Housing Acquisition and Preservation project. A new Housing Opportunity Fund will proactively assist affordable housing deals earlier in the financing process.

More details about the recommended Fiscal Years 2021-26 CIP is available here.

First-ever Montgomery County Government Employee Survey Indicates High Levels of Job Satisfaction and Key Areas for Improvement

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich is improving government operations and believes it is important to hear directly from employees about what works well and what needs to change.

To gain a better understanding of the workforce, County employees were encouraged to participate in a comprehensive survey that was opened from Sept. 18 to Oct. 21, 2019.

The results of the survey, which was a cooperative effort with the County’s three labor unions—the Montgomery County Government Employees Organization, International Association of Firefighters and Fraternal Order of Police, are now available.

Approximately 69 percent of the County’s more than 10,000 employees completed the survey. Eighty-seven percent of the respondents indicated that Montgomery County is a great place to work; 84 percent say they understand the vision, goals and priorities of County Government; and 82 percent believe they are provided with the necessary tools (supplies, software, equipment, etc.) to perform their work overall.

A summary of the findings is available in the press release. The full 2019 Montgomery County Government Employee Survey Organization-Wide Report is available here.

Montgomery County Recreation's Summer Camp Fair Set for Jan. 25

Montgomery County Recreation is hosting a free Summer Camp Fair from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Jan. 25, at the Wheaton Community Recreation Center located at 11701 Georgia Avenue.

At the Summer Camp Fair, you can meet one-on-one with camp staff and instructors, ask questions, participate in family-friendly activities and demonstrations, and, of course, register the kids for camp. Information on financial aid will be available.

T-Rec, the Recreation mascot, will greet visitors, and there will be raffles and giveaways.

Montgomery County Recreation provides hundreds of affordable, quality summer camp programs at convenient locations throughout the County. Parents are encouraged to plan early for the summer as many camps fill quickly.

Registration for summer camps is available at ActiveMONTGOMERY.org.

For more information, call Montgomery County Recreation at 240-777-6840.

‘Senior Planet Montgomery’ Technology Classes Designed to Help Those 60-and-Over Live Better in a Variety of Ways Opens Registration for Winter Classes That Begin Monday, Feb. 3

“Senior Planet Montgomery,” a free program offered through Montgomery County’s Department of Technology Services to help learners 60-and-over take advantage of classes that can improve their lives, has opened registration for its winter classes that begin on Monday, Feb. 3. The classes offer opportunities for residents to learn ways to improve their financial security and health, open a new business, improve their ability to live independently or just use the internet for better daily living.

Classes meet twice a week over the course of five- or 10-week periods, depending on the course. The program, now in its fourth year, offers course instruction, books and devices to use in class at no charge to participants.

Registration for a particular course can be done by directly contacting the site of the class.

The list of courses for the winter session of Senior Planet Montgomery, the respective sites and registration information is as follows (with course descriptions after the schedules):

Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center: 11002 Veirs Mill Road., Ste 506, Wheaton. 240-777-4940.
  • Computer Essentials (PC): Feb. 3-March 9 (Mondays and Wednesdays). 10-11:15 a.m.
  • Introducci√≥n de la cultura digital para computadora (PC): Feb. 3-March 9 (Mondays and Wednesdays). 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m.
White Oak Community Recreation Center: 1700 April Lane., Silver Spring. 240-777-6944.
Margaret Schweinhaut Senior Center: 1000 Forest Glen Rd., Silver Spring. 240-777-8085.
Holiday Park Senior Center: 3950 Ferrara Dr., Silver Spring. 240-777-4999.
  • iPad Essentials (iPad): Feb. 19-March 20. (Wednesdays and Fridays). 1:30-3 p.m. [NOTE: Please bring your own Apple iPad to this course.]
North Potomac Senior Center: 13850 Travilah Road., Rockville. 240-773-4805.
In addition to multi-week courses, Senior Planet Montgomery offers lectures on popular technology topics throughout the County. Visit the Senior Planet website to learn more about Senior Planet or sign-up to receive the newsletter.

County Executive Marc Elrich Honors the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Attending Events Across the County

County Executive Marc Elrich had a busy Martin Luther King Day. Elrich began the morning at the 43 Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Scholarship Breakfast.

MLK Breakfast

Next, he volunteered along with hundreds of other County residents in the om the County’s Annual MLK Day of Service event.

MLK Work Project

He closed his day honoring the legacy Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the Children of the Dream: 2020 Martin Luther King Day Tribute ceremony held at the Music Center at Strathmore.

MLK at Strathmore

Watch the County Executive’s presentation at the MLK tribute:

Free Procurement Workshop Feb. 4; Ready, Set, Grow

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and the Governor's Office of Small, Minority and Women Business Affairs invite entrepreneurs and small businesses who want to learn more about contracting opportunities with government agencies to attend a free procurement workshop. The free workshop, Ready, Set, Grow will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 4 at the Silver Spring Civic Building located at One Veterans Place.

In addition to learning about contracting opportunities with government agencies, participants will get an overview of how small, minority, women, and veteran procurement programs work, information on what buyers are looking for right now, and what is in the pipeline. There will also be open networking sessions and opportunities to connect with a variety of resource partners who can help small businesses thrive.

More information and registration information is available here.

Montgomery County Recreation is Hiring; Job Fairs Scheduled

Looking for summer work? Montgomery County Recreation is hiring part-time seasonal employees for the 2020 summer season, and the department will host two upcoming job fairs.
  • Wednesday, Jan. 29, 3 – 7 p.m. at the Plum Gar Community Recreation located at 19561 Scenery Drive in Germantown.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 26, 5 – 8 p.m. at the Gwendolyn Coffield Community Recreation Center located at 2450 Lyttonsville Road in Silver Spring.
Available positions include lifeguards, camp counselors, camp directors and mainstream companions. Part-time/seasonal pay is competitive at $13 an hour and increases based on experience. Applicants must be at least 15 years of age. Bilingual applicants are encouraged to apply.

Applicants should bring their resumes and be prepared to discuss their experience. Applicants may attend any job fair regardless of where they are seeking work in the County.

As a condition of employment, applicants will be required to pass a criminal background investigation. The investigation will include state, federal and sex-offender background checks.

For questions about the job fairs or summer employment opportunities email: recreation.customerservice@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Montgomery County Alcohol Beverage Services Reports Strong Holiday Season; Sets All Time One-Day Retail Sales Record

Montgomery County Alcohol Beverage Services (ABS) closed the decade with a strong holiday season and set a one-day sales record of $1,551,361 on Thanksgiving Eve, Nov. 27, across the County’s 25 retail stores.

Christmas Eve was also a strong day for alcohol sales. ABS reported $1,451,855 in sales, besting Dec. 24, 2018 sales ($1,431,916).

ABS’ retail division reported $142,002,472 in overall retail sales in calendar year 2019, a significant increase over 2018 sales ($140,781,463) and the second highest in the last five years.

With support from the county executive, ABS developed a financial plan to bring overall annual profits for the department up to $45 million. Preliminary numbers show that for the current fiscal year, which runs July 1 through June 30, overall income was up four percent just before the winter holidays.

More information about the ABS 2019 sales is available in the press release.

January 8, 2020

Montgomery County Ceremony Honors the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Montgomery County celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s life through dramatic readings musical and dance performances in a special tribute from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 20. The event, produced by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Committee and the Montgomery County Office of Human Rights, will be held at the Music Center at Strathmore located at 5301 Tuckerman Lane in North Bethesda.

Co-anchor of Fox 5 Morning and host on Good Day DC Wisdom Martin and his son will co-host this year’s tribute. A visual arts exhibit prepared by Montgomery County Public Schools students interpreting “Children of the Dream” will be displayed. There will be performances by Dem Raider Boyz Step Squad, the Akhmedova Ballet Academy, Kelvin Dukes and a special performance by Ronnie Diamond Hoard – former lead singer of the Ohio Players. Local artist Vohn Higgonbotham will lead and perform with the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School and the Vast Expressions of Song Ensemble.

This family-friendly event is free and open to the public. Tickets are available the day of the celebration in the Music Center foyer beginning at 3 p.m. Seating is general admission and one ticket will be distributed per person. Seating will begin at 3:30 p.m.

For more information, visit the Montgomery County Office of Human Rights website.

Holiday Schedule for Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 20

Montgomery County Government will observe the following holiday schedule for Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 20:
  • County Offices – closed.
  • Libraries - closed.
  • Alcohol Beverage Services (ABS) - stores open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Recreation – aquatics programs and facilities open; all other classes and programs canceled. Administrative office, senior centers and community centers are closed.
  • Montgomery Parks – visit website.
  • Ride On –Modified holiday schedule. Route information available.
  • Ride On Flex – no service on holidays.
  • Metrorail and Metrobus – information available.
  • TRiPS Commuter Store at Silver Spring Transit Center – open.
  • TRiPS Mobile Commuter Store – closed.
  • County-provided refuse/recycling pickup - County-provided trash and recycling collection will not be collected Monday, Jan. 20. After the holiday, county-provided recycling and trash collections will slide, and be one day later than normal with last collection Saturday, Jan.25.
  • Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station - entire facility closed.
  • Parking at public garages, lots, curbside meters – free; and
  • State offices and courts – closed.

Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by Serving Your Community

Join thousands of residents to honor the life and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by participating in the Montgomery County Volunteer Center’s annual MLK Day of Service on Monday, Jan. 20. The event is scheduled from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Bethesda North Marriott and Conference Center located at 5701 Marinelli Road.

Participants can help with a wide variety of service projects suitable for volunteers of all ages. Students can earn MCPS student service learning (SSL) hours. Activities will include packaging food for the hungry, creating scarves for hospice patients, crafting Valentine’s cards for seniors and organizing coats donated for a coat drive. In addition, the event will feature a volunteer fair where you can learn about ways to serve with dozens of local nonprofits and government agencies throughout the year.

This event is free, but space is limited, and advance registration is required. Sign up here.

Additional multi-project service events are scheduled in Gaithersburg, Germantown, Olney, Rockville, Silver Spring and Bethesda. Plus, several organizations will hold special volunteer events throughout the MLK Day weekend.

Visit the Volunteer Center’s MLK Day web page for details and registration links.

County Executive Marc Elrich to Deliver State of the County Address

County Executive Marc Elrich will deliver the 2020 State of the County Address at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 15. The event will take place at the Silver Spring Civic Building located at 1 Veterans Place.

Elrich will address County residents, reflect on his first year in office and share his vision and strategic plans for continuing to move the County forward.

Those who cannot personally attend can watch on County Cable Montgomery (CCM), which is broadcast on Comcast 6/996 and RCN 6/1056 and Verizon on Channel 30. The event will also be streamed live on the County's Facebook site.

Statement from Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich Regarding Governor Hogan’s Traffic Relief Announcement for Washington Capital Region

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich released the following statement regarding Governor Hogan’s traffic relief announcement for the Washington Capital Region:

“I applaud the announcement by the State to revise the plans for I-495 and I-270. This news means that the project will move forward with local input and collaboration with our transportation staff and that the needs of local communities will be reflected in the design of this project. This changed plan puts a stronger emphasis on public transit, including a funding stream for transit projects; begins work at the American Legion bridge - which as I’ve said is the place to begin, and will be built within existing boundaries. It also includes relief for congestion north of I-370 up to Frederick.

I want to thank Comptroller Peter Franchot for working with the Governor and his Transportation Secretary-designee Greg Slater. I also want to thank State Treasurer Nancy Kopp for her support and Chair of the Council’s Transportation & Environment Committee Tom Hucker, Council President Sidney Katz, State Delegates Marc Korman, and Jared Solomon and the many other elected leaders in our County who have been working on this issue. Additional note of thanks to the many elected leaders in Prince George’s County who have joined us in our efforts. And of course, I want to thank the residents across the County who have been unrelenting in their advocacy.

Although many details remain to be worked out, the revisions represent substantial movement by MDOT toward a project that deals with major traffic congestion, is more closely aligned with Montgomery County’s master plans and has the potential to be far more environmentally responsible. I look forward to working with the Governor and his staff.”

The Maryland Board of Public Works voted to advance the transformative Traffic Relief Plan to ease traffic congestion for hundreds of thousands of commuters. Read more here.

Montgomery County Provides Information about New Rules for Accessory Dwelling Units

New information about Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) is now available. The information reflects changes in the County’s Zoning Text Amendment 19-01 that took effect on Dec. 31.

An ADU is a second dwelling that is part of an existing single-family detached home and is used as a completely independent living facility with its own provisions. An ADU may not be used as a short-term vacation rental.

To learn more about ADUs or to apply for an ADU license, visit the DHCA Licensing and Registration Class 3 Accessory Dwelling Unit webpage or call 311 (240-777-0311).

County Installs New Pedestrian Safety Light in Bethesda

Montgomery County continued its efforts to keep pedestrians safer when it activated its newest high intensity activated crosswalk (HAWK) beacon in Bethesda where Tuckerman Lane crosses the Bethesda Trolley Trail. The County’s Department of Transportation (MCDOT) installed the pedestrian beacon in response to community concerns about pedestrian safety.

The beacons align with the priorities of Montgomery County’s Vision Zero plan, which aims to reduce and eventually eliminate traffic-related deaths. The Tuckerman Lane beacon was installed faster than some others because existing poles and power were at the site from a replaced pedestrian warning beacon.

The newest HAWK beacon was installed following neighborhood concerns after a fatal collision involving a pedestrian occurred at Tuckerman Lane and the Bethesda Trolley Trail crossing. The location had been scheduled for an updated signal as part of MCDOT’s modified practice to install HAWK beacons in place of some existing pedestrian flashing signals. HAWK beacons provide better direction to drivers, requiring them to stop at locations where they would otherwise just use “additional caution” under the flashing signals.

Learn more about the County’s HAWK beacon program in a recent press release.

Montgomery County Recreation is Hiring

Montgomery County Recreation is hiring part-time seasonal employees to work during the 2020 summer season, and as part of the recruiting process, the department is hosting job fairs.

Available positions include lifeguards, camp counselors, camp directors and mainstream companions. Part-time/seasonal pay is $13 an hour and increases based on experience. Applicants must be at least 15 years of age. Bilingual applicants are encouraged to apply. Applicants should bring their resumes and be prepared to discuss their experience.

The job fairs are scheduled at the following locations and dates:
  • Saturday, Jan. 18, 2 to 6 p.m. at the Olney Indoor Swim Center located at 16605 Georgia Avenue.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 26, 5 to 8 p.m. at the Gwendolyn Coffield Community Recreation Center located at 2450 Lyttonsville Road in Silver Spring.
As a condition of employment, applicants are required to pass a criminal background investigation, which includes state, federal and sex offender background checks.

More information is available here.

Women’s Voices and Votes Count: Public Invited to Register for 40th Annual Women’s Legislative Briefing

The Montgomery County Commission for Women will host its 40th annual Women’s Legislative Briefing at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 26. The event will be held at The Universities at Shady Grove, Building II located at 9630 Gudelsky Drive in Rockville.

The theme will be “Women’s Voices and Votes Count.” Barbara Harrison, an award-winning journalist, will be the keynote speaker. Attendees can participate in a variety of breakout sessions addressing topics such as voter engagement, racial equity and the 2020 Census, sexual assault and domestic violence prevention, women’s health, economic justice, women in the criminal justice system, human trafficking prevention and women leaders breaking ground in their fields. Session participants will hear from members of the Maryland General Assembly, community leaders, and representatives of organizations advancing the status of women and girls. Those organizations include the Women’s Law Center of Maryland, Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Feminist Majority Foundation, and NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland.

There also will be interactive workshops for emerging leaders (students grades 6-12) that focus on civic engagement and pathways to leadership.

To learn more and pre-register, visit the event registration website.

Alcohol Beverage Services to Host Montgomery County’s Biggest Whiskey Event on Jan. 17

Montgomery County Alcohol Beverage Services (ABS) is hosting its Whiskey Rocks celebration, the largest event of its kind in Montgomery County, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 17, at the Clarksburg Village Liquor and Wine Store, located at 12051 Chestnut Branch Way, Suite 1. The daylong event attracts hundreds of whiskey lovers who want to purchase limited release and highly sought after whiskey products, including Old Rip Van Winkle 10 Year, O.F.C. 1994 by Buffalo Trace, Weller Full Proof, Weller 12 Year, Orphan Barrel Rhetoric Library Pack and more.

At the Clarksburg Whiskey Rocks event, there will be a combination of timed product releases, tastings, engravings, barrel picks, bottle signings and an exclusive whiskey lunch with Maker's Mark Master Distiller Denny Potter.

Preregistration is available on the ABS website for a free seminar that will include a comparative tasting of two Montgomery County select barrels: Elijah Craig 8 Year and Elijah Craig 10 Year. In addition, there will be a blind tasting and a vote for next year’s barrel selection.

More information about this event, including the schedule for raffle drawings, tastings, and special releases, is available on the ABS website.