Montgomery County hit an unhappy milestone today of having the highest number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 (seven-day average) since the pandemic began in March. As you can see from the charts below, the trend line is not headed in a good direction either in the County or across Maryland.
|7 Day average number of new confirmed cases per 100k residents|
|7 Day moving average case rate per 100k by jurisdiction|
As you may have heard, the County Council approved a new Subdivision Staging Policy, which has been renamed the “Growth and Infrastructure Policy.” As the new title explains, this policy is supposed to identify the process and funding to make sure that adequate infrastructure—especially schools and transportation—are in place when new development occurs. I am disappointed that the Council did not address the questions I raised in a letter to the Councilmembers. Councilmember Will Jawando expressed concern about the significant decrease in revenues that will result from this new policy. I share those concerns. The Office of Management and Budget estimates that the changes will reduce revenues by somewhere between $12.5 million and $20 million a year. The Council has stated that it will consider an increase in the recordation tax to meet the need, but that discussion is not currently scheduled. One of the problems with increasing the recordation tax is that it shifts the costs from the developers of the infrastructure projects to residents. The need for this infrastructure will not disappear, although the revenue from new development will be greatly reduced. Either the funds will have to come from somewhere else or we will have to forgo important infrastructure improvements. That has me worried.
Next week is Thanksgiving and we are imploring you not to gather in the traditional large groups this year. If we all maintain our distance and connect via Zoom or other virtual platforms, then, hopefully, next year we will be able to celebrate with family and friends in person.
Please see our guidance regarding Thanksgiving: www.montgomerycountymd.gov/covid19/reopening/requirements/thanksgiving.html
I am thankful for the many wonderful residents, businesses and organizations that are here in Montgomery County. Please stay safe, maintain physical distance and #MaskUpMoCo.