Out -- Low Wages: The Council approved an increase in the county's minimum wage, which is currently $7.25 under Maryland law. The county's minimum wage will increase to $8.40 on October 1, 2014 and will be phased in to $11.50 in 2017. The measure is not perfect, but I'm glad that some Montgomery County families will be able to breathe a little easier.
In -- AAA Bond Rating: All three bond rating agencies reconfirmed the County's AAA bond rating. This is good news because it allows us to issue bonds for our capital borrowing at the most favorable rates, saving taxpayers millions of dollars over the life of the bonds.
In -- Homeowner Associations: Approximately 100 people representing more than 60 organizations and 12 County departments and agencies attended my forum designed specifically for homeowner association and condo board leadership. You can see the entire meeting on YouTube.
Out -- Long Lines: The Montgomery County Board of Elections has increased the number of Early Voting Centers to nine for the 2014 elections. Early voting for the primary election will occur from June 12 to June 19, 2014, and early voting for the general election will occur from October 23 to October 30, 2014.
In -- County Council Anywhere: You can now watch Council sessions and hearings live on your mobile device.
Out -- Invisibility: Montgomery County ranks among counties with the highest median incomes. We take pride in being the economic engine of Maryland, and our schools make the lists of the best in the nation. Yet we have pockets of poverty that are not easily seen. Now, thanks to an award-winning documentary, The Unseen Montgomery, this poverty is no longer invisible.
In -- Chevy Chase Lake: After hearing from many stakeholders concerning changes to the 1990 Bethesda-Chevy Chase Master Plan, we approved the Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan, which coordinates new development with the construction of the Purple Line while still protecting the character of the community.
Out -- Hunting for Information: The Montgomery Business Development Corporation has launched a new Web site that includes the only tool in operation that enables users to see available sites or leasable space throughout the County. It also features extensive demographic information to help new and existing businesses.
In -- Size: Montgomery County is home to 30 of the 100 largest publicly traded companies as identified by the Washington Business Journal. The County's highest ranking company on the list is Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin Corporation, coming in at #3 with revenue of more than $47.1 billion.
Out -- Smoking: There is no risk-free level of exposure to second hand smoke, so I’m glad we unanimously passed my bill to ban smoking on most property leased or owned by the County. As stewards of public health, we are responsible for protecting residents, employees and visitors from dangerous exposure.
In -- Population: Do you feel like one in a million? You should because Montgomery County's population has reached the one million mark. Ours has been the largest jurisdiction in the state since 1989, and Montgomery is the first county in Maryland to reach the million-person milestone.
The PHED Committee's draft of the Zoning Code Rewrite is now available on the Montgomery Planning Web site. This draft includes all the changes made by the PHED committee in addition to plain language edits, corrections, and clarifications. The full Council will hold worksessions to discuss the PHED draft on January 14, 15 and 16.
Here is the most recent press release on our plans to fill the District 5 County Council vacancy:
December 11, 2013
Montgomery County Council President Craig Rice today outlined the process to appoint a new Councilmember for District 5. On Dec. 10 Councilmember Valerie Ervin announced that she will resign from the Council on Jan. 3, 2014 to become executive director of the Center for Working Families.
As provided in Sections 102 and 106 of the County Charter, the Council intends to appoint a new Councilmember for District 5 by Jan. 31, 2014 to complete Councilmember Ervin’s unexpired term, which ends on Dec. 1, 2014. The new Councilmember must reside in District 5 and be registered to vote in the same political party as Councilmember Ervin (Democrat).
The Council intends to select a person who has shown a clear understanding of the issues that are important to residents of District 5. To assure a level playing field for all persons interested in seeking election to the next full term from District 5, the Council expects to appoint a person who does not plan to run for election to that term.
Applicants should submit letters of interest with a resume to Council President Craig Rice, Montgomery County Council, 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, Maryland 20850 by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014. Applications can also be submitted via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Each applicant must be a registered voter in Montgomery County, registered to vote as a Democrat, and, at the time of appointment, a resident of Council District 5. Each resume submitted should include the applicant’s professional and civic experience, political party affiliation, home and office telephone numbers, and home and email addresses. Each application letter, recommendation letter, and resume submitted as part of the appointment process will be made available to the public. Each applicant must submit a confidential County financial disclosure statement for Council review. (The form will be transmitted to each applicant for completion.) Only the financial disclosure statement of the ultimate appointee will be made available to the public.
The Council will decide which applicants to interview. Interviews will be scheduled for 2 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 17 at the Council Office Building. Additional interviews, if necessary, will be scheduled for 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 22 and Friday, Jan. 24.
We’re taking applications for appointment to a three-year term on the Merit System Protection Board. Generally, the board is expected to oversee the Merit System and to protect employee and applicant rights guaranteed under it. Get your application in by the new extended deadline of January 15. Learn more.
Congratulations to our new Council president, Craig Rice and our new Council vice president, George Leventhal. We have two very talented leaders at the helm this year, and I feel optimistic about our future. Best wishes, Craig and George!
Keep this link handy for winter weather. The County’s snow emergency page has everything you need to know about snow plowing, closings and power outages, including an interactive map of snow plow progress. It’s a great resource.
January is Radon Action Month. You have the power to prevent the second leading cause of lung cancer, so get your home tested for radon gas and reduce your family’s risk of exposure.
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 legislative process. Even more important, I want to hear about what matters to you. Send your meeting notices to email@example.com or call 240-777-7959 if you would like me to address a particular topic with your group.