Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Apply Now to the Board of Investment Trustees - Applications are due by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 7

Here is the press release with all the information you need about the vacancy on the Board of Investment Trustees for the County Employee Retirement Plans and the Board of Trustees for the Consolidated Retiree Health Benefits Trust:

The Montgomery County Council is seeking 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 7.  Mr. Bradley Steltzer 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 county.council@montgomerycountymd.gov.  Letters of interest must be received no later than 5 p.m., Wednesday, February 7.  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.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Council Returns from Recess - View Council and Committee Calendars

Council returns from recess on Tuesday, January 16, 2018. Here's the agenda for this Tuesday. Additionally, all Council committees are scheduled to review the County Executive's proposed Savings Plan. For committee agendas, check here.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Holiday Schedule for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Here is the holiday schedule for Martin Luther King Jr. Day:

Montgomery County government will observe the following holiday schedule for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday:
County Offices – Closed January 15
Libraries – Closed January 15
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 www.MontgomeryParks.org
Ride On – Modified Holiday Schedule. Route information available at: www.montgomerycountymd.gov/DOT-Transit/SpecialHoliday.html
Metrorail – Information available at www.wmata.com
Metrobus – Information available at www.wmata.com
TRiPS Commuter Store at Silver Spring Transit Center – Open
TRiPS Mobile Commuter Store – Closed  
Refuse/recycling pickup – no collection* 
The Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station – Closed January 15
Parking at public garages, lots, curbside meters – Free
State offices and courts – Closed Monday, January 15
# # #
*Collection provided one day later for remainder of week (last collection day is Saturday) 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

UPDATE - Prepayment of 2018 County Property Taxes in 2017

Here's updated information regarding the prepayment of  Montgomery County property taxes:

The Internal Revenue Service issued an Advisory on December 27, 2017, that states, “A prepayment of anticipated real property taxes that have not been assessed prior to 2018 are not deductible in 2017.” Montgomery County tax assessments are made each July—the 2018 tax assessment will be made in July 2018.
Please see the guidance from the IRS here.
The County continues to advise taxpayers to consult their own tax advisor about the tax consequences of making a prepayment of the taxpayer’s 2018 County real property taxes on their federal income tax return.
Residents who still want to prepay their 2018 County real property taxes may do so by mail or in person; however, the County still encourages residents to pay by mail.
As stated in the County’s Notice of Intent document, in accordance with law passed by the Montgomery County Council on December 26, 2017, there can be no refunds until there is a 2018 tax bill for your account, the prepayment of 2018 tax is posted to your 2018 tax bill, and the prepayment exceeds the amount due on the 2018 Real Property Consolidated Tax bill.
Residents seeking to make prepayments in person may do so Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Treasury office located at 255 Hungerford Dr., Rockville.
Only checks and cash will be accepted as a prepayment of 2018 County property taxes.
Send or deliver your payment to:
Department of Finance
Division of Treasury
ATTN: 2018 Prepaid Property Taxes
255 Rockville Pike, Suite L-15
Rockville, MD 20850
For more detailed instruction and required supporting documentation, you should visit the County’s Finance Department’s homepage at montgomerycountymd.gov/finance/ or https://apps.montgomerycountymd.gov/realpropertytax/.
Release ID: 17-439 
Media Contact: Ohene Gyapong 240-777-6507

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Council Enacts Legislation for Prepayment of 2018 Property Taxes in 2017

Today we approved Bill 42-17, Property Tax Advance Payment — Authorized.  This bill enables county residents the option to prepay their 2018 property tax this year. Here is the full press release and links to the county website with detailed instructions:

The Montgomery County Council held a special legislative session today to enable residents to prepay their 2018 county property tax in 2017.  By a 7-1 vote, the Council enacted Bill 42-17, Property Tax Advance Payment — Authorized.  The bill gives county residents the option to prepay their 2018 property tax this year.   The bill requires the county to refund any amount paid that is greater than the property tax owed and would permit the county to bill the property owner for any amount of the prepayment that is less than the 2018 property tax once it is finally determined.
 “Creating this prepayment option may open the door for many middle-class county residents to get a final year of benefit from deducting their property tax on their 2017 federal tax return,” said Council President Hans Riemer.  “Initial speculation was that only the most affluent residents could take advantage of this option. But with the benefit of public input, we now know that the prepayment option will be a potential benefit to thousands of county residents of more average means.”  
 Maryland tax law authorizes the governing body of a county to enact a law permitting taxpayers to make an advance payment of county property tax.  State law requires that the advance payment must be the full amount of county property tax owed for the prior year. 
 On Dec. 22 President Trump signed the federal Tax Reform Act into law. The act will limit the deduction for state and local income, sales, and property tax to $10,000 beginning in 2018.  The advance payment of 2018 property tax before the end of 2017 may be deductible for some taxpayers on their 2017 federal income tax return.
 Montgomery County’s Finance Department encourages county taxpayers who intend to prepay their 2018 property tax this year to mail their payment.  The county is providing information on the websites of the county, the Finance Department, and the Council, and also via the Paperless Airplane and Regional Services Center newsletters and on social media.
 Before mailing a payment, residents must print a Notice of Intent form located on the websites, fill it out, sign it, and mail it with their payment to the Treasury Office: 255 Rockville Pike, Suite L-15, Rockville, MD 20850.  
 State law requires that residents who intend to prepay their property tax must pay the full amount of their 2017 county property tax.  If residents owe property tax for the current or prior years, the payment will be applied to any past due amount before it is applied to any advance payment.
 Residents are encouraged to consult with their tax advisor to understand whether prepaying their 2018 property tax this year will benefit their tax situation.  Montgomery County makes no representation as to whether the prepayment may be deducted for federal income tax purposes.
 Instructions and more information on property tax prepayment for 2018 can be found at:
Submissions must include a signed Notice of Intent form, which can be found at:
A checklist for prepaying 2018 property taxes can be found at:


Sunday, December 24, 2017

The Council Will Meet Tuesday, December 26 at 10:00 a.m. Regarding Prepayment of Property Taxes

The County Council will meet in special session on Tuesday, December 26 at 10:00 a.m. to take up legislation enabling the prepayment of property taxes. Here's the full press release:

Montgomery County Council to hold special legislative session to enable residents to prepay their County property taxes, on Tuesday, Dec. 26 at 10 a.m.

Introduction, public hearing, and vote is scheduled for Expedited Bill 42-17, Property Tax – Advance Payment – Authorized

ROCKVILLE, Md., Dec. 23, 2017—On Tuesday, Dec. 26 at 10 a.m. the Council will hold a special legislative session to enable residents to prepay their County property taxes. Expedited Bill 42-17, Property Tax – Advance Payment – Authorized, would authorize the advance payment of County property taxes. A public hearing will follow the introduction of Bill 42-17. A vote is scheduled immediately after the public hearing.

Maryland tax law authorizes the governing body of a county to enact a law permitting taxpayers to make an advance payment of county property tax. The advance payment is "calculated by applying the current county property tax rate to the assessment of the taxpayer’s property for the prior year."

Bill 42-17 would require Montgomery County to refund any amount paid that is greater than the property tax owed and would permit the County to bill the property owner for any amount of the advance payment that is less than the real property tax finally determined.

"This bill is a response to the just-enacted federal tax reform act," said Council President Hans Riemer. "One of the act’s many problematic features is to limit the deductibility of state and local taxes on federal returns to $10,000 starting in 2018. While some other jurisdictions permit prepayment of property taxes, current Montgomery County law does not.

"Earlier this week the Council concluded that the prepayment option raised many serious questions," said Riemer. "Tax advisors are divided on whether prepayments would actually be deductible in 2017.

"Nevertheless, we must act," said Riemer. "This problem was created by the federal government’s reckless tax bill. These are not ordinary times. Like other jurisdictions, we must do what we can to ease the burden on our residents. Only they can determine whether prepayment is the right decision for them, but we should ensure that they have the opportunity to make that decision."

On Dec. 22 President Trump signed the Tax Reform Act into law. The act will limit the deduction for state and local income, sales, and property tax to $10,000 beginning in 2018. The advance payment of 2018 property tax before the end of 2017 may be deductible for some taxpayers on their 2017 income tax.

Information about how residents can prepay their property taxes will be provided by Executive Branch staff at the Council meeting on Tuesday and through additional communications.

The public hearing on Expedited Bill 42-17, Property Tax – Advance Payment – Authorized, will be held in the Third Floor Hearing Room of the Council Office Building, which is located at 100 Maryland Avenue in Rockville. The meeting will be televised live by County Cable Montgomery (CCM) 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. It also will be available live via streaming through the Council web site at http://tinyurl.com/z9982v8

Individuals who want to testify at the public hearing on Expedited Bill 42-17 should email Councilmember.Riemer@montgomerycountymd.gov. The deadline to submit a request to testify is Dec. 26 at 7 a.m. Sending a request to testify does not guarantee a slot on the Council’s speakers list. Speakers for the public hearing will receive email confirmation notifications by no later than 9 a.m. on Dec. 26.

The Council is also accepting written testimony. Individuals should submit written testimony to County.Council@montgomerycountymd.gov.

A copy of Expedited Bill 42-17 and the Council staff report is attached or can be obtained by calling 240-777-7910. Council President Riemer’s full statement on Expedited Bill 42-17 is also attached. 



Monday, December 18, 2017

Holiday Schedule for Christmas and New Year's

Here's the County's holiday schedule for the Christmas and New Year holidays:

Montgomery County government will observe the following holiday schedule for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays:

County Offices – Closed December 25 and January 1

Libraries – Closed December 24, 25 and January 1

County Liquor stores (DLC) – December 24 and December 31, all DLC stores will open 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.  Closed December 25 and closed January 1

Recreation – Aquatic, community recreation and senior centers are closed December 25, and January 1.  For complete details on facility closures and modified schedules between December 24 and January 1, visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/rec

Montgomery Parks - For operating schedule, visit www.MontgomeryParks.org

Ride On – Sunday schedule (Riders can access the route schedule).  Ride On services end at 10 p.m. on December 24

Metrorail – Information available at www.wmata.com

Metrobus – Information available at www.wmata.com

TRiPS Commuter Store at Silver Spring Transit Center – Closed December 25 and January 1

TRiPS Mobile Commuter Store – Closed December 25 and January 1 

Refuse/recycling pickup – No collection December 25 and January 1. Collection will be one day later for the week of December 25 and January 1

The Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station – Facility will close at 3 p.m. on December 24 and 31. Closed December 25 and January 1

Parking at public garages, lots, curbside meters – Free


State offices and courts – Closed Monday, December 25 and Monday, January 1

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Council Receives Update on the County's Fiscal Plan

Yesterday the Council’s agenda included an update on the County’s Fiscal Plan. We heard that our revenue estimates have turned out to be too high. That’s why the County Executive will be sending us his proposed savings plan for this fiscal year, through the end of June, 2018. We should receive the Executive’s proposal within the next two weeks. You can learn more from the Council’s staff packet  and watch yesterday’s Council session to hear the questions we asked. Stay tuned for more updates.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Council Elects New Leadership

Congratulations to our new Council President, Hans Riemer and our new Council Vice President, Nancy Navarro. We will have two very talented leaders at the helm in the coming year, and I feel optimistic about our future. Best wishes Hans and Nancy! You can read the full press release here.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Youth Town Hall

I couldn’t be happier with this year’s Youth Town Hall meeting. Nearly 300 students and young residents of Montgomery County were in attendance on Wednesday, November 29. My colleagues and I spoke with many students individually while others asked the full Council questions about important issues affecting their lives. Some topics discussed included bullying prevention, gang activity, pre-k education, issues affecting minority students, school overcrowding and overall safety in schools. I want to thank everyone who attended and I was especially impressed with the thoughtfulness of the questions we received. If you couldn’t attend, you can still watch it here.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Town Hall Meeting for Students - Wednesday, November 29 at 7:00 p.m.

The Council will hold the always-popular Town Hall Meeting for Students on Wednesday, November 29, at the Council Office Building in Rockville. The meeting will be held in the Council’s Third Floor Hearing Room beginning at 7 p.m. A pre-meeting reception will begin at 6:00 p.m. in the building’s second-floor cafeteria. 

This meeting is open to high school, middle school and local college students. This event provides an opportunity for the participants to let Councilmembers know how they feel about specific issues and to ask us questions in an organized, but informal, setting. 

The meeting will be broadcast live on County Cable Montgomery (CCM—cable Channel 996 on Comcast, Channel 1056 on RCN, and Channel 30 on Verizon) and rebroadcast at various times in the weeks following the meeting. The meeting will also be streamed on Facebook Live and YouTube (FB.com/CountyCableMoco and YouTube.com/CountyCableMoCo).

If you need more information or have questions about the meeting, email sonya.healy@montgomerycountymd.gov or call 240-777-7926.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Holiday Schedule for Thanksgiving

Montgomery County government will observe the following holiday schedule for Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 23:

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Montgomery County Executive's Ball - Sunday, December 3, 2017

Join me at this year’s Montgomery County Executive’s Ball on Sunday, December 3 at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center. This annual event supports the invaluable education programs of our County’s arts and humanities organizations. Purchase tickets here or visit www.mocoexecball.org for more information.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Metro Red Line Takoma Station Closed and No Train Service From Silver Spring to Fort Totten Stations from November 25 through December 10

Beginning Saturday, November 25 through Sunday, December 10, there will be no Red Line trains operating between the Silver Spring and Fort Totten stations, as the Takoma station will be closed for a major improvement project. For more information and travel alternatives, visit the WMATA website.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Holiday Schedule for Veteran's Day

Here's the County's schedule for Veteran's Day:

Montgomery County government will observe the following holiday schedule for Veterans Day, Friday, November 10.
County Offices – closed  
Libraries – closed
County Liquor stores – all County liquor stores will be open normal hours.
Recreation – aquatic and community centers open as scheduled with the exception of the Germantown Indoor Swim Center, which is closing at 2 p.m. on November 10 and closed all day on November 11 for a swim meet; classes and programs will meet as scheduled; all senior programs cancelled, and administrative offices and senior centers closed.

Montgomery Parks - For operating schedule, visit www.MontgomeryParks.org
Ride On – will operate on a special modified holiday:  http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/DOT-Transit/holiday_schedules.html.  .
Metrorail – Information available at www.wmata.com
Metrobus – Information available at www.wmata.com
TRiPS Commuter Store at Silver Spring Transit Center - open 6 a.m. - 6 p.m.
TRiPS Mobile Commuter Store – not operating 
Refuse/recycling pickup – Regular schedule
The Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station – Regular schedule
Parking at public garages, lots, curbside meters – free
State offices and courts – closed