Nancy Floreen's Montgomery in Focus, August 2015

Council Approves Savings Plan

All nine Council members raising their hands.

Just a few days ago, the Council approved a plan that totals $54 million in savings for FY16, which began on July 1. That's slightly more than the nearly $51 million proposed by the County Executive on July 8.

We need a savings plan now because there has been a major change in the County's revenue picture since the Council agreed on the County's operating budget for FY16. The 5-4 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Wynne case, combined with the impact of a shortfall in the County's estimated income tax revenue for FY15, could reduce the County's revenue by more than $150 million in FY15-17 and $250 million in FY15-18. Learn more.

My Bill to Spur Affordable Housing

Nancy Floreen

I am very pleased to report that the Council passed my bill to exempt from both the transportation and school impact tax all market-rate housing units in developments that provide at least 25 percent affordable units. Bill 8-15 applies to both rental and for-sale developments. Even developments that take advantage of density bonus provisions in the Zoning Ordinance can benefit from the impact tax exemption. My intention with Bill 8-15 is to provide a strong incentive for developers to produce additional affordable units.

Council Passes Predatory Towing Bill

Here's some needed relief. The Council unanimously approved a bill to limit some of the practices that have led to the predatory towing of vehicles parked on private properties. Specifically, the bill will:

  • Authorize the County Executive to set flat rates for certain towing services.
  • Require towing companies to have personnel available 24 hours a day at impound lots so vehicle owners can retrieve cars at any time.
  • Require one notice sign per 25 spaces in parking lots with 100 or more parking spaces, in addition to requiring signs at entrances.
  • Require photographic evidence of violations or of events precipitating the towing of a vehicle.
  • Prohibit the use of spotters to identify vehicles for towing.
  • Require towing companies to accept credit cards as well as cash for the redemption of vehicles.

We made several amendments to the original bill, particularly in response to the needs of homeowner associations.  Learn more.

Council Passes Two Taxi Bills

After months of work, the Council unanimously approved Bills and 53-14 and 33-15 to improve taxi service in the County by helping the existing taxi structure better compete with new types of services like Uber and Lyft. The bills provide opportunities to have more taxicabs available to respond to calls and address working conditions in some situations for drivers.

In Bill 53-14, we revised taxicab regulations for company owners and drivers, including rules for Passenger Vehicle Licenses, which are the local equivalent of medallions.

In Bill 33-15, we created a Transportation Services Improvement Fund. Transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft will pay a per-trip surcharge that will be used to enhance accessible taxicab services and transportation services to eligible senior citizens and people of limited income.

On a related note, the Maryland General Assembly recently passed a law regulating transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft. The law took effect on July 1. Learn more.

Green Tip of the Month

red calf

If you participated in the 26th annual Farm Tour and Harvest Sale, you may already know that Montgomery County has the highest percentage of farmland under agricultural land preservation easements in the nation, and that agriculture contributes $287 million to the County's economy. There are 540 farms and 350 horticultural enterprises in the County with the average farm size being 118 acres. Do you want to know more? Mark your calendar for the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair August 14-22.

Fast Fact

On September 3, more than 800 regional business women and men will converge at The Power Conference: Women Doing Business. You can attend any of 40 workshops and small group roundtables or visit the 70 exhibitors in the Business Marketplace and Resource Center. You can also show off your perfect pitch to a panel of business rock-star judges and compete for cash prizes and market exposure.

Let's Talk

Is your community organization hosting a public meeting? Please let me know how I can help. I am happy to assist residents in understanding pending bills or in finding ways to get involved in the political process. Even more important, I want to hear about what matters to you. Send your meeting notices to or call 240-777-7959 if you would like me to address a particular topic with your group.

August 2015

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