Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Fourth of July Events

Montgomery County will again host two fireworks displays on July 4--Germantown Glory at the SoccerPlex in the South Germantown Recreational Park, 18041 Central Park Circle, Boyds and Mid-County Sparkles at Albert Einstein High School, 11135 Newport Road, Kensington. Both fireworks displays will begin at approximately 9:15 p.m.

In addition to these two displays, several municipalities are hosting celebrations and fireworks. Check out Visit Montgomery for a full list of fireworks and other activities.

To find out what's open and what’s closed as well as parking and trash pick-up information for the County, see the holiday schedule for the Fourth of July.

Holiday Schedule for Fourth of July

Here's our holiday schedule for Independence Day, Monday, July 4:
  • County Offices – closed
  • Libraries – closed
  • County Liquor stores – all Country liquor stores will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Deliveries will be made as normal; but there will be no pickups
  • Recreation – the Germantown Indoor Swim Center will close at 3 p.m., all other aquatic facilities will close at 6 p.m.; swim lessons will meet as scheduled; administrative offices, senior centers and community recreation centers will be closed
  • Montgomery Parks - For holiday schedule, visit www.MontgomeryParks.org
  • Ride On – Will operate on a Saturday schedule
  • Metrorail –Information available at www.wmata.com
  • Metrobus – Information available at www.wmata.com
  • TRiPS Commuter Stores (Silver Spring and Friendship Heights) - closed
  • Refuse/recycling pickup – no July 4 collection. Collection will slide by one day. For information on slide schedule go to https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/sws/holidays/
  • The Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station - closed
  • Parking at public garages, lots, curbside meters – free
  • MCPS Schools and Administrative Offices – closed
  • State offices and courts – closed

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

OLO Report Compares Tax Burdens of Six Local Jurisdictions

Take a look at the report from our Office of Legislative Oversight entitled Individual and Business Tax Burdens in Local Jurisdictions. The report analyzes the tax burden for individuals and businesses in Montgomery County compared to five other local jurisdictions: Prince George’s, Howard and Frederick counties in Maryland, Fairfax County in Virginia and the District of Columbia.

The tax burden data in the OLO report comes from two reports conducted for the District of Columbia government. Some highlights of the OLO report include:

  • Among the local jurisdictions examined in the report, Montgomery County ranked third in projected Fiscal Year 2016 total revenue at $5.1 billion, following the District ($14.0 billion) and Fairfax County ($7.5 billion).
  • Among families in the six jurisdictions at five annual income levels ranging from $25,000 to $150,000, Montgomery County ranked third in annual tax burden at all income levels except for $50,000. At the $50,000 level, the tax burden in Montgomery County is lower than all but one of the jurisdictions examined.
  • A September 2013 report created for the D.C. Tax Revision Commission found that in many scenarios, taxes are lower for businesses located in Montgomery County, compared to Prince George’s County, Fairfax County and the District of Columbia.
The Council is scheduled to receive a briefing on the report on Tuesday, July 12. Stop by the Third Floor Hearing Room of the Council Office Building or watch it on County Cable Montgomery.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Council Names Gerald Cichy to Planning Board

Congratulations to our newly appointed Planning Board member. Here's the full press release:

The Montgomery County Council today unanimously named Gerald Cichy of Rockville to a soon to be vacant position on the Montgomery County Planning Board. He will begin his term in July, when the second and final term Amy Presley concludes. 

By law, the position had to be filled by a Republican, a voter who declines to affiliate with a party or by a member of another party officially recognized by the Montgomery County Board of Elections. In addition to Ms. Presley (Republican), current board members are Chair Casey Anderson (Democrat), Norman Dreyfuss (Republican), Natali Fani-Gonzalez (Democrat) and Marye Wells-Harley (Democrat). 

Mr. Cichy has more than 50 years in transportation and planning both in Montgomery County and the Washington region. He was director of the Montgomery County Department of Transportation from 1979-84. He also has served as a senior executive at the Maryland Transit Administration, the Maryland Department of Transportation, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the District of Columbia Department of Transportation.

His experience has included work with the proposed Corridor Cities Transitway in Montgomery County, the planned U.S. Route 29 Busway/BRT, the Purple Line, the ICC commuter bus, transit-oriented development, the B-W Maglev and BRAC transit and rideshare services.

He was awarded a U.S. Patent for a Bus Rapid Transit Vehicle, with doors to directly assess transit platforms. He was the recipient of the Federal Transit Administration’s "Innovative Idea Award" for his concept of a 200-Mile Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System supplementing the 100-Mile plus Metrorail System in the Washington Region. 

“With my recent retirement from the Maryland Department of Transportation and the Maryland Transit Administration, I am able to bring my wealth of experience, time, commitment and energy to this board position,” Mr. Cichy wrote to the Council in his letter of application. “It would be a great pleasure for me to, once again, serve my home County and community.” 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Legislator of the Year

I'm so grateful to the Chamber for this recognition. See the video or read the full press release:

Montgomery County Council President Nancy Floreen will receive the Legislator of the Year Award from the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce at its 57th annual dinner at 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 9, at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center.

Council President Floreen, who chairs the Council’s Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee and serves on its Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee, this year led the Council toward creating a Fiscal Year 2017 operating budget that emphasized “Education First, but Not Education Only.” She was the lead sponsor of a plan that will accelerate the Montgomery County Public Schools’ schedule for refurbishing existing schools and building new ones. 

At the dinner that is expected to have a crowd of more than 800, other honorees will be Bell Nursery USA (Visionary of the Year Award); the National Institutes of Health (Public Sector Partner of the Year Award); Lawrence Duncan, III, vice president of Federal and State Government Relations and PAC Affairs of Lockheed Martin Corporation (Business Advocate of the Year Award); and Leslie Ford Weber, director of Campus and Government and Community Affairs for the Montgomery County campus of Johns Hopkins University (Chairman’s Award).

 Now in her fourth term, Council President Floreen has been an advocate for a strong business environment in the County. She inspired creation of the Montgomery Business Development Corporation that led to a new approach to economic development in the County, spearheaded the Green Business Certification Program and championed the rewrite of the County Zoning Ordinance and modernization of the Road Code. She previously served as Council president in 2010. 
The Donohoe Companies, Inc., Federal Realty Investment Trust, Linowes and Blocher LLP and Percontee, Inc. are the sponsors of the Legislator of the Year Award.

“Linowes and Blocher, Federal Realty Investment Trust, Percontee and Donohoe are honored to sponsor Nancy Floreen as the Chamber’s Legislator of the Year,” said Barbara A. Sears of Linowes and Blocher. “Nancy has been an effective leader in Montgomery County for nearly 30 years. As an at-large member of the Montgomery County Council for the last 14 years, she has helped shape County policies and laws in numerous areas with the best interests of the business community, residents, and other stakeholders in mind.  In her role as a legislator, she has consistently demonstrated the ability to balance competing interests while skillfully advancing important legislative goals.”

Council President Floreen said she was honored to be selected to receive the prestigious award.

“I am pleased to be recognized by such a venerable organization as the Chamber of Commerce and I am also proud to be associated with our many outstanding businesses that make Montgomery County such a great place to live, work and raise a family,” said Council President Floreen. “Most of all, I am grateful for having had the opportunity to work with the Montgomery County businesses of all sizes that have taken civic engagement so seriously and have made such a tremendous impact on our community.”

For press admission or inquiries regarding the dinner, contact Michelle Guzman of the Chamber of Commerce at mguzman@mcccmd.com or 301-738-0015.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Passing of Former Councilmember Esther Gelman

Esther P. Gelman, who served as member of the Montgomery County Council for three terms from 1974-87, passed away on Monday, June 6, after a long illness. She would have been 85 on her birthday next week on June 14.

Mrs. Gelman served as president of the Council in 1984. She was the fourth woman to serve as Council president. A member of various Council committees, she sponsored legislation in such areas as comparable pay, religious leave accommodations, smoking prohibitions and the establishment of the Community Crisis Center for abused women.

Throughout her long political career Gelman was an active advocate for the rights of victims of sexual assault and spousal abuse and helped improve human services available to residents of Montgomery County.

She was born in Baltimore on June 14, 1931, and graduated cum laude from the University of Colorado in 1952 with a B.A. in English, History and Philosophy. 

In 1951, Mrs. Gelman married Norman I. Gelman. They had two daughters, Judy and Sharon.

Her funeral will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, June 10, at Adat Shalom at 7727 Persimmon Tree Lane in Bethesda. In lieu of flowers, her family has asked that contributions be made to an organization she helped to create—the Montgomery County Public Schools Foundation, which provides higher education scholarships for financially needy students.

Mrs. Gelman began her political career in 1960 through involvement with the local Democratic party and various civic and neighborhood organizations. As correspondent for the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) from 1968 to 1970, she reported on the activities of the Commission and of the Montgomery County Planning Board. She served as a commissioner of the M-NCPPC from 1970 to 1974. 

Mrs. Gelman was active in the Maryland Association of Counties (MACo), the Metropolitan- Washington Council of Governments (COG) and the National Association of Counties (NACo). She was president of MACo in 1984.

In its edition of Jan. 3, 1984, The Washington Post listed “Winners and Losers in the State of Maryland” in 1983. Mrs. Gelman had just been elected president of the County Council and was listed as one of the 10 “winners.” Others on the list of winners included Abe Pollin, owner of the Washington Capitals and Bullets, and the Baltimore Orioles, who won the World Series in 1983.

She earned many honors and awards throughout her career including the 1984 American ORT Federation’s Golda Meir Award for Distinguished Education and Humanitarian Service, the Montgomery County Government Spousal Abuse Award and the President’s Award from the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce, the Montgomery County Health Services Planning Board, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Hebrew Academy of Greater Washington. 

Following her election to the Montgomery County Council in 1974, Mrs. Gelman began campaigning for legislation to restrict smoking in public, which resulted in Bill 26-76 "Smoking in Public Places" and in her 1985 co-sponsoring of Bill 27-85 "Smoking in County Government Workplaces and Rail Transit Stations."

In 1982 Mrs. Gelman voiced her concern with the issue of comparable worth by introducing Bill 55-82, "Comparable Worth-Equal Pay for Work of Equal Worth." She continued her advocacy of women's issues in 1984 by sponsoring legislation designed to improve day care facilities and payment methods for County employees.

See the tribute on County Report.

Friday, June 3, 2016

County's Unemployment Rate Drops

The Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation reports that Montgomery County’s unemployment rate for April was 3.3%. That's  down from 3.5% in March.