Nancy Floreen's Montgomery in Focus, May 2016

Masthead that says Nancy Floreen's Montgomery in Focus

Council Continues Budget Work

school bus

The Council is well into its work on the FY 17 operating budget  and the FY 17-22 Capital Improvements Program. If you would like to follow along, start with the Council Administrator's extremely informative and insightful overview of the core budget issues we must consider (agenda item 6). Also, visit the Council's Web site, and remember to check back regularly as information will change.

As we continue to work our way through the budget process, we are keeping in mind some shared goals. They are closing the educational achievement gap between minority and non-minority students; reducing class sizes across the board; making decisions that are both achievable in the short term and sustainable over time; and ensuring that residents see results for any additional investments we ask them to make.

As the business committee knows, this year we will fully transition our economic development activities to the new non-profit organization, WorkSource Montgomery. See WorkSource Montgomery's presentation and other reports on economic development to the Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee outlining their exciting plans for the upcoming fiscal year.

To weigh in, send your comments in writing online; by emailing; by regular mail to: County Council, 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, MD 20850; or by calling the Council budget hotline at 240-777-7802.

We will have our last straw votes on May 19 and will take final budget action on May 26. The budget will take effect on July 1.

Golden Shovel Award Winners

Nancy Floreen and Golden Shovel award winners and a service dog

It is always a pleasure to recognize our Montgomery County residents who have gone above and beyond to help their neighbors shovel out after a snowstorm. This year, our heroes had a lot of work to do with snow totals ranging from 32.4 inches in the southern part of the County to 53.5 inches in the northern areas.

Residents submitted 75 nominations, and I recognized 18 Golden Shovel award winners at the April 19 ceremonies. As I read through the nominations, I appreciated how truly grateful people are for the kindness of their neighbors.

Here are this year's Golden Shovel winners:

Rich Castillo and Family of Olney unselfishly shoveled out the homes and driveways of elderly neighbors.

Tom Cheplo of Bethesda enthusiastically used his snow blower to clear the sidewalks on both sides of the street, driveways and even part of the road. His neighbor said, “He is always helpful and a fine example of a good neighbor and citizen.”

Jeffrey Cohen of Rockville worked tirelessly with only a shovel and manual ice breaker to clear several snow piles allowing safe passage for school children and other neighbors.

Marcus Colyer and his 9-year-old son of Kensington cleared nine driveways, making his neighbors extremely grateful.

Roger Deshaies of Silver Spring used his snowblower to clear the sidewalks and driveways of seven houses on his block. He also cleared the crosswalk entrances at the end of the sidewalk multiple times, enabling children to walk safely to the local middle school.

Moe Gazafroudi of Gaithersburg cleared the driveways in his cul-de-sac. He also cleared a trail path of snow because many in the community use the path to walk their dogs.

Richard Hoye of Bethesda is a previous Golden Shovel Award winner. He continues to clear sidewalks in Bethesda and has invested his own money to purchase snow removal equipment so that he can better help his community.

Christine Kim of Olney, referred to as the “energizer bunny,” shoveled her senior-citizen neighbors’ driveways, walkways, steps and mailbox areas.

John Lee of Wheaton received four neighbor nominations. He cleared almost his entire block of snow, including driveways, walkways and sidewalks.

Andrea McCarren of WUSA Channel 9, while searching for those in need of shoveling in the Storm Tracker 9 vehicle, spotted a Bethesda woman and her young daughter with their snow-buried car. Beyond just worrying about the video she set out to get, Andrea mobilized an “all women shoveling flash mob” to clear and free the car after 20 minutes of rugged digging.

John Malone of Silver Spring organized neighbors to purchase a snow blower and then, when the major storm came in January, he cleared several pathways on his street—including one leading to the local elementary school so the students did not have to walk in the street.

Amy and Brian Palmer of Rockville gave Herculean efforts to clear snow from their neighborhood using shovels, salt and snowblowers. And after street plows left massive ice packs, they broke them up to further make sure the road was passable.

Earl Pfeiffer of Montgomery Village is 82 and shows no sign of slowing down. He tirelessly shoveled walkways and paths to the neighborhood school and with safety in mind, he cleared snow from buried fire hydrants.

Phelps Rogovoy and Casey Scufca of Germantown are neighbors who combined efforts during the major two-day storm to help another neighbor several times clear her driveway and walkway while her husband was away, serving in Afghanistan.

Larry Solomon of Olney assisted approximately 15 homeowners remove snow from their properties, sidewalks and streets. He also cleared sidewalks along both sides of the streets.

Mark Ujczo of Olney worked long hours and used his snow blower to clear his entire block and then went on to clear the public paths in and around the neighborhood common area. He also assisted shoveling out the sidewalks and driveways of several elderly neighbors.

Sofia and Nevan West of Rockville are 12-year-old twin siblings. They not only helped their mother shovel mountains of snow from their property, they also went to help a disabled neighbor shovel their driveway and sidewalk. And when a snow plow became stuck, they helped the driver shovel out the truck and even brought him a soda.

Thom Wolf of Takoma Park regularly cleared the sidewalks after every snowfall. All of his neighbors value his help, especially the elderly, the single mothers and those with physical injuries who could not clear the snow themselves.

Health Officer's Report on Zika Virus


The County's Health Officer recently briefed the Council on the Zika virus, how it may affect Montgomery County and what precautions you should take. Although no cases of the virus have been reported in Montgomery County, there have been eight travel-related cases in Maryland, and the range of mosquitoes that carry the disease can expand to our area. See the video of the briefing (agenda item 6) or visit the County's Zika virus Web page for more information.

Fast Fact

The Council met with Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority General Manager Paul Wiedefeld to discuss his priorities for Metro, including safety, reliability and fiscal responsibility. We also talked about the Red Line, Metrobus, the agency's partnership with the planned Purple Line and other issues specific to Montgomery County. You can see the video (go to 12:45 p.m. in the index) on demand on the Council's Web site.

Green Tip of the Month

The Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee recently discussed residential lead pipe issues. Most of the news is good, especially as WSSC reminded us that there are no lead pipes in the public water system. As an extra precaution, WSSC adds a corrosion inhibitor to its water. It is possible that private property -- older homes in particular -- could still have lead pipes or solder. If you are concerned about your water quality, call WSSC at 301-206-7575 for a lead testing kit. If your home is served by a well, call 311 and the County will provide testing. See the entire discussion.

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.

May 2016

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