Friday, October 29, 2010

Vote on November 2

Remember to vote in the General Election on November 2.

In addition to national, state and local races, there will be a question on the Emergency Medical Transport Fee (ambulance fee). I voted in favor of Question A because I'm confident there will be no adverse effects of the fee. No County resident will ever get a bill for ambulance transport, co-pays or deductibles. Insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid will pay the fee for covered patients, and those without insurance will get a waiver. With so much at stake in the County budget, we can't afford to leave insurance money on the table.

The question will appear on the ballot as follows:

"Shall the Act to require the collection of an emergency medical services transport (ambulance) fee from: (1) County residents to the extent of the resident's insurance coverage; and (2) non-County residents subject to a hardship waiver become law?"

If you are in favor of establishing the ambulance fee, you should for "for." If you are opposed to establishing an ambulance fee, you should vote "against."

Council Terminates Clarksburg Development District

This week we voted to terminate the Clarksburg Town Center Development District by approving a resolution I co-sponsored. I believe this action will finally allow Clarksburg residents to move forward and build the community they want and deserve. The Council created the development district in 2003, but it was never implemented. Clarksburg homeowners raised concerns about how they were notified of the development district tax and the burden it would impose. As a result, the County never issued any bonds to fund infrastructure improvements, and the residents and businesses in the Town Center continued to lack the roads and community buildings that would make their community the vibrant one they envision.

The resolution terminating the development district calls for the creation of an infrastructure working group which will meet to identify infrastructure items for Clarksburg and recommend how to finance them by April 2011. By passing this resolution, we have laid the groundwork for the creation of an Upcounty retail center that will benefit local residents and help create a thriving town center.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Early Voting Happening Now

Five Early Voting Centers are now open (October 22 – 28, excluding Sunday, from 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.) You can vote on the same voting equipment used on Election Day, but at a time that is more convenient. Early Voting Centers are located at:

~Bauer Drive Community Recreation Center, 14625 Bauer Drive, Rockville
~Germantown Recreation Center, 18905 Kingsview Road, Germantown
~Marilyn J. Praisner Community Recreation Center, 14906 Old Columbia Pike, Burtonsville
~Montgomery County Executive Office Building, 101 Monroe Street, Rockville
~Silver Spring Civic Building, 8525 Fenton Street, Silver Spring 20910

Monday, October 18, 2010

Welcome International Baccalaureate Americas Global Center

I look forward to attending (and offering a toast at) Wednesday’s ribbon cutting for the International Baccalaureate’s new headquarters in Bethesda. The organization services nearly 2,000 schools in North, Central and South America and provides global services to 139 countries worldwide.

The IB announced its selection of Montgomery County for its Americas Global Centre in February 2009. The Center will grow to more than 100 employees over the next few years as part of the organization’s plan to expand capacity over the next 12 years in preparation for an estimated 2.5 million students and 10,000 IB programs worldwide by 2020.

The IB encourages students to be active learners, well-rounded individuals and engaged world citizens. It also serves in an educational advisory capacity to other educational organizations. I'm proud to welcome International Baccalaureate to Montgomery County.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Council Designates Montgomery Business Development Corporation

I’m please that today we designated the Montgomery Business Development Corporation that will advise us on economic development issues and work toward retaining businesses and attracting new ones to the County. I was the chief sponsor of the bill that authorized this group, and I expect that this apolitical organization will focus on the jobs we need for a robust future.

The Board members are Robert Brewer, Bryant Foulger, Brian Gragnolati, Deborah Marriott Harrison, Douglas Liu, Brett McMahon, Matthew Mohebbi, Susana Nemes, Ron Paul, Lawrence Shulman and Daisy Wallace. This group represents a good mix of businesses and expertise. I thank all of the members for their hard work up to this point and for the hard work they still have ahead of them. For more information on the business development corporation, see my July 20 blog post.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

$14 Million in Proposed Cuts if Ambulance Fee is Rejected

The County Executive has sent us his proposed $14.1 million in operating budget reductions for the current fiscal year. These cuts would be needed to offset the amount of estimated revenue that would not be generated if the Emergency Medical Services Transport fee (ambulance fee) is rejected by voters through the Nov. 2 referendum. We included the estimated revenue from the fee in the budget we adopted in May.

Given our already tight budget, any further cuts will echo across the County. Our obligation is to maintain a balanced budget. If residents vote against the ambulance fee, they will be voting for $14 million in cuts to services. We will await the results of the referendum and take action on the proposed cuts before December if the fee is defeated.

The question will appear on the ballot as follows:

“Shall the Act to require the collection of an emergency medical services transport (ambulance) fee from: (1) County residents to the extent of the resident’s insurance coverage; and (2) non-County residents subject to a hardship waiver become law?”

A voter in favor of establishing the ambulance fee should for “for”; a voter opposed to establishing an ambulance fee should vote “against.”

Monday, October 4, 2010

Apply Now to Grants Advisory Group

Apply by November 12 for the FY12 Grants Advisory Group. We will appoint the volunteer community panel to review grant applications and advise us on proposals received from the non-profit community.

We believe that a strong partnership with non-profit organizations is critical in meeting the County’s needs. We have established a grants process in which we accept applications from non-profit organizations seeking funds, forward proposals to the Grants Advisory Group for advice and comments and then make funding decisions during our spring budget deliberations.

We anticipate that the Grants Advisory Group will be appointed in December and will be asked to report to the Council by the end of April 2011. Panel members will need to attend training sessions and review relevant materials during late January nd February. The applications review will take place between March 1 and April 15.

The Grants Advisory Group will be asked to provide us with comments on each of the grant proposals. The workload will vary based on the number of applications received and panel members appointed; however, it is expected that each member would review approximately 20 applications. Panel member should anticipate approximately six to eight meetings between the beginning of February and mid-April with the potential for weekly meetings in March.

Volunteers for the Grants Advisory Group can come from panels reviewing Community Development Block Grants or Community Service Grants, as well as from other advisory boards or community groups. Applicants for the Advisory Group cannot be employees of, or members of a board of, a nonprofit group applying for grant funding.

Submit your letter of interest and a resume to: Council President Nancy Floreen, Montgomery County Council Office, Stella B. Werner Council Office Building, 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, MD 20850 or via e-mail to