Nancy Floreen's Montgomery in Focus, February 2016

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Debriefing on Snow Response

snow plow

Winter storm Jonas was certainly one for the record books! With up to 38 inches of snow and gusty winds, we were extremely fortunate that our residents remained safe and that we had no significant power outages. I appreciate the patience and teamwork that our residents showed throughout this historic storm. Community members checked on elderly neighbors, helped stranded motorists, and pitched in to clear neighborhood sidewalks. (We will start taking Golden Shovel Award nominations in March, so stay tuned.)      

For those who have concerns with the responsiveness of the County’s Division of Highway Services, the data provided on the snow map and the MC311 call system, all of these issues and more will be reviewed by the County Council on February 9. I have requested that Executive staff from all departments involved in storm operations participate in a debriefing with the Council, so we can better understand the decisions made by the department heads and staff who are responsible for these activities. While many aspects of their recovery efforts worked well, some issues need to be addressed. There is always room for improvement.

I want to express my deep appreciation to the men and women who have worked so hard throughout the storm and cleanup to get us back on track. Many Department of Transportation, Emergency Management, Health and Human Services, and MC311 employees, as well as police officers, firefighters, paramedics, and many other professionals have worked excruciatingly long shifts with virtually no time off. These are truly the unsung heroes of this historic storm.

Public Hearings on Capital Budget

Nancy Floreen

The County Executive transmitted to the Council his recommended $4.4 billion FY17 Capital Budget and six-year FY17-22 Capital Improvements Program on January 15. In it, he recommends nearly $1.9 billion for education, including $1.57 billion for the Montgomery County Public Schools as well as $305 million for Montgomery College, among many other projects.

The Council will take up this proposal over the next several months and will pass a final budget at the end of May. To testify on the capital budget, sign up online for one of the public hearings scheduled for February 9 and 11, both at 7:00 p.m. If you can't make the hearings but would like to weigh in, e-mail

Watkins Mill Interchange

All nine members of the Council signed on to a letter to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and Peter Rahn, Scretary of the Maryland Department of Transportation, asking that the state proceed with the original design of the long-planned interchange at I-270 and Watkins Mill Road in Gaithersburg. We recently learned that the State planned to significantly scale back the project.

We put it this way: “Last week we were dismayed to learn that the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) has delayed indefinitely the notice to proceed to construct the planned I-270/Watkins Mill Road interchange, and that MDOT is seriously considering proceeding without ramps from Watkins Mill Road to I-270, and perhaps without either on- or off-ramps. We insist that plans for anything less than the full interchange be dismissed and that MDOT proceed with the project as designed immediately.”

We went on to say: “Nothing short of a full interchange is acceptable. With an interchange, traffic at the MD 124/MD 355 intersection—now operating at more than 25 percent over capacity—and at the regularly congested MD 117/MD 124 intersection would finally get some relief. All these are State highways upon which our residents and businesses depend.”

Read the full text of the letter:

Green Tip of the Month

Join local community groups to learn about how the County addresses water quality and how you can get involved. This year’s agenda will focus on opportunities for County residents to help improve their local waterways, and the Summit will provide info on programs led by County government, WSSC, Montgomery Parks and more. The 2016 H2O Summit will be held on Saturday, March 5, 9:30-2:30, at the Rockville Senior Center.

Fast Fact

school bus

All children between the ages of five and 16 in Maryland must attend school. A student absent for an unexcused reason is truant. A student with unexcused absences amounting to 20 percent or more of the semester (18 days) or school year (36 days) is habitually truant. According to a 2015 Maryland State Department of Education report, the statewide average of habitual truancy is 1.96 percent. Montgomery County’s rate is 1.35 percent. Learn more about the Truancy Prevention Program.

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.

February 2016

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