Friday, March 16, 2018

Apply Now To The Planning Board

Here's the full press release:

ROCKVILLE, Md., March 9, 2018—The Montgomery County Council is seeking applicants to fill a vacancy on the Montgomery County Planning Board. The first term of Natali Fani-Gonzalez (Democrat) will expire on June 14, 2018, and she has indicated that she will apply for reappointment.

Applications must be received no later than 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 28.

Members serve four-year terms and are limited to two full terms. No more than three members of the Planning Board may be from the same political party, and each member must be a resident and registered voter of Montgomery County when appointed. This position may be filled by a Democrat, Republican, a voter who declines to affiliate with a party, or a member of another party officially recognized by the Montgomery County Board of Elections.

In addition to Ms. Fani-Gonzalez (Dem), current board members are Chair Casey Anderson (Dem), Vice Chair Norman Dreyfuss (Rep), Gerald Cichy (Rep) and Tina Patterson (Unaffiliated). Annual compensation for Board members is currently $30,000, and the chair currently earns $204,371.

The Planning Board serves as the Council’s principal adviser on land use planning and community planning. Planning Board members also serve as commissioners of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.

The Planning Board’s responsibilities with regard to planning include preparation and amendment of the County General Plan; preparation and amendment of master plans and functional plans; formulation of subdivision regulations; preparation of or recommendations on text amendments to the County Zoning Code; implementation of the subdivision process by reviewing and approving all preliminary plans, site plans and other plans for development; advice on the planning implications of capital facilities and programs of the County government, Montgomery College, the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission and Montgomery County Public Schools; commenting, under its mandatory referral authority, on plans for public facilities of local, state and federal agencies; and approval of the work program and the annual operating budget for the Planning Department and the Commission’s bi-county offices.

The Planning Board sits as the Park Commission and approves the annual Parks Department operating budget and Capital Improvements Program (CIP); land acquisition contracts and major development contracts for parks; development plans for individual park facilities; policies for park operations; and park user fees.

The Planning Board meets all day, including into the evening, every Thursday and will schedule other meetings, as needed. The entire Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission meets the third Wednesday of every month. On average, a Planning Board member may spend two full days a week in scheduled and informal meetings. Additionally, substantial time is required for preparatory work and other activities related to Planning Board responsibilities.

Application Process and Deadline

Letters of application expressing interest, including a resume listing professional and civic experience, political party affiliation, home and office telephone numbers and an email address, should be addressed to: Council President Hans Riemer, County Council Office, Stella B. Werner Council Office Building, 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, Maryland 20850. Applications can also be submitted via email to

Letters of application and resumes are made public as part of the appointment process, and are available for public review. The interviews are conducted in public and will be televised.

Letters with resumes must be received no later than 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 28. It is the Council’s policy not to consider applications received after the deadline. After the closing date, Councilmembers will review the letters of application and select applicants for interviews to be held soon thereafter.

Financial Disclosure

A financial disclosure statement of assets, debts, income and family property interests will be required to be filed by each applicant. The financial disclosure form will be sent to you after we receive your letter of application. Only the financial disclosure statement of the ultimate appointee will be made available to the public; all others will be returned to the applicants.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

The County Executive Transmits the Operating Budget to the Council

The County Executive has transmitted his Fiscal Year 2019 recommended operating budget to the Council. The recommended budget provides a good starting point for the Council’s work on the final County budget for the upcoming year. We appreciate the hard work by the Executive and his staff to begin the process.

The Council’s public hearings on the operating budget are scheduled for April 10-12. You can sign up online to testify at one of the five public hearings.

You can also send your comments in writing online; by emailing; by regular mail to: County Council, 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, MD 20850.

If you would like to follow along, visit the Council's Web site, and remember to check back regularly as information will change as we make our way through our work.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Montgomery County Department of Transportation to Host Open Houses for US 29 Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) will host three open houses to inform the public regarding the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line being developed along a 13.5 mile stretch of U.S. Route 29 between the Silver Spring Transit Center and Burtonsville.

The open houses are scheduled for the following dates:

THURSDAY, MARCH 15, 2018 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
•Silver Spring Civic Center Great Hall, 1 Veterans Plaza, Silver Spring, MD 20910

TUESDAY, MARCH 20, 2018 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
• White Oak Community Center Social Hall, 1700 April Lane, Silver Spring, MD 20904

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 21, 2018 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
•Montgomery Blair High School Cafeteria, 51 University Blvd, East, Silver Spring, MD 20901

The three open houses will provide identical information. Sign language interpretation and other assistive services will be provided upon request. Contact Thomas Pogue at (240) 777-7171 or send a request to
Learn more about BRT at

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Senior Property Tax Credit for Long-Time Homeowners and Retired Veterans - Applications Due by April 1, 2018

I get a lot of calls in my office about the Senior Property Tax Credit, so I want to be sure everyone knows that the deadline to apply for this year's credit is April 1, 2018.

Last year Council passed legislation (bill 42-16 and bill 13-17) I introduced that provides a 20 percent annual property tax credit for up to five years for qualified homeowners. Individuals must be Montgomery County residents who are at least 65 years old (born on or before June 30, 1953) and who have either owned and lived in the same home for at least 40 years (since June 30, 1978), or are military retirees (including retired members of the uniformed services, the military reserves, or the national guard.)  

Additionally, individuals must be named on the property deed, and the assessed property value must be $650,000 or less for those living in their homes for at least 40 years and, $500,000 or less for seniors that are retired military or uniformed services. Those who believe they may be eligible must apply for the credit during each of the five years. This year's application deadline is April 1, 2018.

 Here's the full press release with more information:

Eligible homeowners could receive 20 percent credits on their County property taxes; those seeking a credit must apply by April 1
Montgomery County seniors who are at least 65 years old (born on or before June 30, 1953) and who have either owned and lived in the same home for at least 40 years (since June 30, 1978) or are retired veterans of the U.S. military may be eligible to receive a tax credit of 20 percent over five years on their County property taxes. Those who believe they may be eligible must apply for the credit during each of the five years.

The County’s Department of Finance has established a website dedicated to information about the program, which was created by the County Council’s approval of Bill 42-16 and County Executive Ike Leggett’s signing of the bill. The site also has the application needed to apply for the credit. The website can be accessed at: .

A paper version of the application is available at the Department of Finance, which is located at 255 Rockville Pike, Suite L-15, in Downtown Rockville. For more information, residents can call the County information at 311 (if calling from a location within the County) or 240-777-0311 (if calling from a location out of the County).

There is a short application form for those who received the credit in the past year. Later in March, the County’s Department of Finance will be sending out form letters and short form applications to all who received the credit this year.

The bill went into effect on July 1, 2017. An application must be made each year for the tax credits. The applications are due on April 1, before the tax year that begins on July 1 of the same calendar year. Tax years begin on July 1, meaning the 2018 tax year begins on July 1, 2018.  The application deadline for 2018 tax credit is April 1, 2018.

Bill 42-16 created the property tax credit for residents who are at least 65 years old and who have owned and lived in the same home, with an assessed value of $650,000 or less, for at least 40 years. Retired members of the U.S. Armed Forces (Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard) who are at least 65 years old also are eligible for the credit if their home has an assessed value of $500,000 or less. Expedited Bill 13-17 expanded the property tax credit to include a retired member of the uniformed services of the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (PHS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The expanded criteria also include members of the military reserves and the National Guard.

The applicant for a credit must be on the deed for the property.  Not all owners must be over 65, just the one that meets the requirements above. Not all owners must have owned and lived in the dwelling for at least 40 consecutive years—just the one that meets the requirements above. Not all owners must be retired from the U. S. armed forces—just the one that meets the requirements.

The credit is granted for five consecutive years, and the credit is not available after that five-year period. There is only one credit—if an owner is 65 or over and has owned and lived in the same dwelling for at least 40 consecutive years and that owner is also a military retiree, the tax credit is still a 20 percent tax credit on County property taxes only, for five consecutive years.

The tax credit will appear as a line item deduction on the annual tax bill in July 2018. Homeowners can review their bill at:

The site provides information by looking up tax bills by address, by account number or by bill number.

The revised bill amount will also be available by calling MC311 (dial 311 when calling from within the County, and dial 240-777-0311 when calling from outside of Montgomery County).

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Monday, March 12, 2018

County Council Town Hall Meeting in White Oak on Wednesday, March 14 at 7:30 p.m. (doors open at 7:00 p.m.)

Let us know what matters to you at our Town Hall Meeting for the White Oak area on Wednesday, March 14. The meeting will be held at the White Oak Recreation Center (1700 April Lane, Silver Spring)  beginning at 7:30 p.m. and doors will open at 7:00 p.m. You can voice your opinions on specific issues and ask questions of us in an organized, but informal, setting. The meeting will be taped for later broadcast on County Cable Montgomery
Here's more information:

ROCKVILLE, Md., March 6, 2018—The Montgomery County Council will host a town hall meeting starting at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 14 at the White Oak Recreation Center, which is located at 1700 April Lane in Silver Spring. The doors will open at 7 p.m. The meeting will begin promptly at 7:30 p.m. and conclude at 9 p.m.
The nine-member Council includes President Hans Riemer, Vice President Nancy Navarro and Councilmembers Roger Berliner, Marc Elrich, Nancy Floreen, Tom Hucker, Sidney Katz, George Leventhal and Craig Rice.
Residents are encouraged to ask questions on any issue. Among the issues likely to be raised are those concerning schools, transportation, public safety and the County’s capital and operating budgets. 
“Getting to meet with residents where they live is one of the best parts of my job,” said Council President Riemer. “The Council is committed to making sure that residents have easy ways to reach out to their local representatives. Town hall meetings are a great way for Councilmembers to hear what’s going on at the neighborhood level.”
The meeting is open to all County residents. Susan Kenedy, communications specialist and senior producer for the County Council, will moderate the meeting.
The meeting will be recorded and rebroadcast at various times on County Cable Montgomery (CCM), which can be found on cable Channels 996 (high definition) and 6 (standard definition) on Comcast, Channels 1056 (HD) and 6 (SD) on RCN and Channel 30 on Verizon. The meeting also will be carried on Facebook Live @CountyCableMoCo. Residents also are encouraged to send in questions during the meeting via Twitter @MoCoCouncilMD.
For questions or more information regarding the town hall meeting, email or call 240-777-7926. To learn more about the Council visit: .

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Women's History Month Proclamation

Today Council Vice President Nancy Navarro and I presented a Proclamation to the Montgomery County Commission for Women in recognition of Women's History Month.

During Women’s History Month, we celebrate the courage, foresight and creativity of women of every race, class and ethnic background who have contributed to our county and our country. Today, we took time to remember the many Montgomery County women, including Rachel Carson, mother of the modern environmental movement; Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross; and Emily Edmonson, freed slave and abolitionist, who figure importantly in our local and national history.

You can watch a video recording of today's Proclamation. To learn more about Montgomery County women in history, check out the Commission for Women’s history page on the web.  

We Unite In Support of Gun Safety

Yet another school shooting has renewed our focus on finding ways to protect our kids and reduce gun violence in our society. Yesterday I joined Councilmembers and community leaders at a Rally for Gun Safety on the steps of the Council Office Building in Rockville.  We added our voices to urge our state and federal representatives to pass sensible gun control policies that will keep our communities safe. You can watch my comments here:

Friday, March 2, 2018

New Date - Rally For Gun Safety - Monday, March 5 at 4:00 p.m.

The Rally For Gun Safety will be this Monday, March 5 at 4:00 p.m. on the steps of the Council Office Building (100 Maryland Ave. Rockville). Community members and students are welcome to this event. Here's the full press release:

ROCKVILLE, Md., March 2, 2018—Councilmember Sidney Katz will be joined by Council President Hans Riemer, Council Vice President Nancy Navarro, Councilmembers Nancy Floreen, Craig Rice, George Leventhal, Marc Elrich and Roger Berliner,  Rockville Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton, Gaithersburg Mayor Jud Ashman, Washington Grove Mayor Joli McCathran, a senior representative from the Montgomery County Police Department, Sheriff Darren Popkin, Senior Assistant State’s Attorney for Montgomery County Robert Hill, residents and students to remember those who lost their lives at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and to call for federal and state action on gun safety.

The event will be held on Monday, March 5 at 4 p.m. on the steps of the Council Office Building (100 Maryland Ave.). Community members and students are also invited to attend this event.

In October 2017 the Council unanimously passed Resolution 18-938, Condemning Acts of Gun Violence, which called on “legislators in the Maryland General Assembly, the United States House of Representatives, and the United States Senate to prevent access to firearms by persons with violent or suicidal behavior, limit the number of firearms that may be purchased per month, prevent conversion of semi-automatic weapons to automatic weapons, limit magazine capacity, ban assault weapons, institute a mandatory waiting period and expand background checks at the federal level and to take any other steps to limit access to firearms for the purpose of taking a human life.”

The resolution can be viewed at:

“Communities across the U.S. have been devastated by attacks like the one in Parkland, Florida,” said Councilmember Katz. “It is imperative that all government officials, including local government officials, work together to make our communities as safe as they can be.  I’m standing with my Council colleagues, our county executive, our local mayors and our police chief to say enough is enough.  In Montgomery County we are fortunate to have responsive representatives.  We call on all federal and state representatives to enact stringent gun safety laws now!”

“The surviving victims of gun violence have spoken,” said County Executive Leggett.  “The people have spoken. They are demanding we stop the plague of gun violence from affecting another family by introducing common sense gun laws for weapons that are made for war. The nation’s president and the Congress must respond as we here in the County have done.”

“Guns have their place, and it is not in our schools,” said Mayor Newton. “And it is not in the hands of those who seek to sow anguish.”
“This rally is important because it gives our community a chance to demonstrate our solidarity with and goodwill toward the victims of the horrible mass shooting in Parkland, Florida,” said Mayor Ashman. “We’re also coming together to show that there’s real momentum for change. While I personally believe in the Second Amendment and an individual’s right to own and bear arms, there should be reasonable limits, particularly when it comes to assault weapons and other tools that exist solely to increase the lethality of individual firearms. So, I will be calling for us to take a wholesale look at gun regulations as well as our mental health care infrastructure. We all need to put the partisan politics aside and come together to make our communities safer for everyone.”

“We are gathering together to remember the victims of another school mass shooting, this time in Florida,” said Mayor McCathran. “This senseless tragedy is stirring young and old alike to take strong action for stricter gun control. Young people are speaking up and becoming activists, and it is time for lawmakers to act. We all should be supporting those who are doing this work. The arming of more people does not make us safer. If so, we would be the safest nation in the world. Let’s work together to create a nonviolent school environment and our nation a safer country.” 

Today's Rally for Gun Safety is Cancelled

Today's Rally for Gun Safety scheduled at 4:00 p.m. at the Council Office Building in Rockville is cancelled. I'll provide updated information with a new date and time once it's confirmed.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Council Commemorates Black History Month

Today we held a special program to commemorate Black History Month and discussed the importance of preserving African-American history and its connection to education. We have an especially rich African-American history here in Montgomery County. Today's program reminded us that we must recognize and preserve this heritage and continue to build on it to make our County a great place to live for everyone.

You can watch the event which included a video segment and a panel discussion. Panelists included Christine Clarke, former County liaison to the African-American community and resident of the Village of Jerusalem in Poolesville; Gwen Reese, founder and president of the Sugarland Ethno-History Project; and George McDaniel, Ph.D., president of McDaniel Consulting and executive director emeritus of Drayton Hall.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Happy Heart Health Month!

February is Heart Health Month. Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States? Every year, one in four deaths are caused by heart disease. The good news is it's preventable. Learn more about making heart-healthy choices in your life.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Congratulations to Blair High School Senior, Andrew Komo, Grand Prize Winner of the 2017 Siemen's Competition in Math, Science and Technology!

Today we presented a proclamation to a remarkable young man, Andrew Komo. He is a senior at Montgomery Blair High School and won the 2017 National Siemens Competition in an individual category, receiving a $100,000 scholarship grand prize.

The 2017 Siemens Competition winners were announced last December at George Washington University in Washington, DC, and Andrew was selected as the grand prize winner from more than 2,000 high school students.

Andrew won for his project entitled "Cryptographically Secure Proxy Bidding in Ascending Clock Auctions" for developing a coded system that can be used to protect large scale online auctions from serious threats, such as cheating and fraud, allowing these auctions to be conducted with increased transparency, fairness and security.

You can view the proclamation presentation here.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Holiday Schedule for Presidents' Day

Here's our schedule for Presidents' Day Monday, February 19, 2018:

County Offices – Closed
Libraries – Closed
County Liquor stores (DLC) – all stores will be open 10 a.m. – 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 - Montgomery Parks - for operating schedule, including Brookside Gardens, ice rinks and tennis centers, visit
Ride On – Modified Holiday Schedule. Route information available at:
Metrorail – Information available at
Metrobus – Information available at
TRiPS Commuter Store at Silver Spring Transit Center – Open
TRiPS Mobile Commuter Store – Closed
Refuse/recycling pickup – no collection, all collections scheduled on or after the holiday will be made one day later in the week. Monday collections on Tuesday; Tuesday collections on Wednesday; Wednesday collections on Thursday; Thursday collections on Friday; and Friday collections on Saturday
The Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station – recycling and trash drop-off open with normal hours. Recycling Center and administrative offices closed
Parking at public garages, lots, curbside meters – Free
State offices and courts – Closed

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Council Seeks Applicants for Board of Investment Trustees - Application Deadline is February 14

Apply now to serve on the Board of Investment Trustees for Employee Retirement Plans and Consolidated Retiree Health Benefits. Applications are now due by Wednesday, February 14. 

ROCKVILLE, Md., February 7, 2018—The Montgomery County Council is extending the deadline for applicants to serve as the Council representative on the Board of Investment Trustees for the Montgomery County Employee Retirement Plans and the Board of Trustees for the Consolidated Retiree Health Benefits Trust. The Boards set investment policy and evaluate and monitor investment managers and performance of the Trust Funds. The deadline for applications is 5 p.m. on Wednesday, February 14. Mr. Bradley Stelzer will complete his first term on March 1, and has indicated that he will apply for reappointment.

The appointee may not furnish or be employed by a firm that furnishes to pension funds and other institutional investors the kind of investment services purchased by the board. Members of County boards, committees and commissions may not serve on more than one such group at a time. The Council policy is that an individual must not serve more than two consecutive full terms on any County board, committee or commission.

The Board of Investment Trustees is responsible for overseeing the investment of approximately $5 billion in assets for nearly 11,000 active and retired members of the three retirement plans: defined benefit, defined contribution and deferred compensation. The Board of Trustees is responsible for overseeing the investment program for the Consolidated Retiree Health Benefits Trust, which has assets of approximately $1 billion.

The Board of Investment Trustees for the Montgomery County Employee Retirement Plans consists of 13 trustees appointed by the County Executive and confirmed by the County Council. Trustees include the directors of the Office Human Resources, Office of Management and Budget, Department of Finance and the County Council Administrator; two representatives of the County Council; one active member of the retirement plans who is not a member of a collective bargaining unit; one retired member of a County plan; two members of the public; and individuals recommended by each of the three County employee collective bargaining units.

The Board of Trustees for the Consolidated Retiree Health Benefits Trust consists of 19 trustees, 13 of whom are members of the Board of Investment Trustees, along with the following additional members: one active employee recommended by the superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), one retired member of MCPS, one MCPS bargaining unit representative, one active employee recommended by the Montgomery College (MC) president, one retired member of MC, and one MC bargaining unit representative.

Trustees serve three-year terms without compensation from any source for services rendered to the boards. The boards meet six times a year from 8:30 a.m. until approximately 1 p.m., usually on Fridays in January, March, May, July, September and November.

This Council representative position on each Board is for a person who is knowledgeable in pensions, investments or financial matters. The Council will recommend one applicant to the County Executive for appointment to serve on both boards. After the Executive appoints the Council representative, the appointee’s name is submitted to the Council for final confirmation. Within 10 days after confirmation, each trustee must sign a certificate stating that the trustee accepts the fiduciary responsibility of the trust funds and will administer the affairs of the trust with care, skill, prudence and diligence. Appointees must complete a financial disclosure statement within 15 days of Council confirmation and annually thereafter.

Letters expressing interest in the position, including a resume listing professional and civic experience, should be addressed to Council President Hans Riemer, County Council Office, 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, Maryland 20850. Applications can also be submitted via email to Letters of interest must be received no later than 5 p.m., Wednesday, February 14. It is the Council’s policy not to consider applications received after the deadline. Letters of application and resumes are made public as part of the appointment process, and are available for public review. The interviews are conducted in public and are televised. After the closing date, Councilmembers will review the letters of application and select applicants for interviews to be held soon thereafter.

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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Council Honors Outgoing Council Administrator, Steve Farber

Today we honored the outgoing Council Administrator, Steve Farber, with a Council proclamation for his 26 years of devoted service to Montgomery County. It's been an honor and pleasure to work with Steve for the last 15 years. I appreciate his dedication to the Council and his never-ending support with our governing efforts . He has served the Council with the utmost distinction especially in strengthening the County's fiscal performance. He's been critical to extending the County's track record to 44 years as a AAA bond-rated county!