Nancy Floreen's Montgomery in Focus, May 2017

Council Continues Work on Budget

All nine Council members raising their hands.

The Council is well into its work on the FY 18 operating budget and amendments to 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. Also, visit the Council's Web site, and remember to check back regularly as information will change.

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 18 and will take final budget action on May 25. The budget will take effect on July 1.

Four to Interview for Planning Board

Nancy Floreen

We will interview four applicants for the Planning Board on May 11 at 9:30 a.m. This is an important position as the Planning Board serves as the Council’s principal adviser on land use planning and community planning. This means the board is responsible for preparation and amendment of the County General Plan; preparation and amendment of master plans and functional plans; implementation of the subdivision process and a whole lot more. You can watch these interviews live on County Cable Montgomery or on demand 24 hours later.

Microloan Program for Entrepreneurs

The Council unanimously approved Bill 49-16 that will create a County microloan program to provide loans from $500 to $15,000 for County residents needing additional help to start small businesses.

Nationally and locally, micro businesses have been found to improve the economic well-being and self-sufficiency of individuals who often find themselves in low wage jobs, but have the creativity and desire to own and operate a wide variety of businesses.

The amended legislation calls for the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation to administer a culturally proficient program. Loans would be limited to no more than $15,000, with the expectation that most loans will initially be in the $500 to $5,000 range. Loans would be limited to County residents who headquarter their business in Montgomery County. Loan recipients would be required to participate in educational and technical assistance that would be part of the program. Learn more.

Protection from Foreclosed Properties

Row of townhouses

The Council unanimously approved bill 38-16 that will impose a civil penalty for property owners who fail to register a foreclosure purchase. The intent of the bill is to keep unmaintained properties from becoming a nuisance to the community.

The bill will impose a civil penalty for the failure to register a property that is purchased by foreclosure. By Maryland law since 2012, the purchaser of a foreclosed property must register the property with the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation and the Maryland Foreclosure Task Force within 30 days of the property's foreclosure sale. The law authorizes local jurisdictions to enact legislation to impose a fine of $1,000 for failing to register.

The law was meant to address the period of nine to 18 months that frequently occurs between the date of a foreclosure and the date that the property title is transferred. During this time, local jurisdictions have a hard time identifying the party responsible for maintenance, security and taxes. To date, Montgomery County has not enacted any punitive fine and hundreds of foreclosed properties have gone unregistered since the General Assembly approved the law.

DLLR estimates that 20 percent of foreclosure property purchasers statewide do not register their property or register after the deadline. Based on the data from the State Foreclosure Registry, there were 1,432 foreclosures in Montgomery County in Fiscal Year 2015. Of these, 34 percent (492) either failed to register or registered long after the deadline. The unregistered properties are much more likely to go unmaintained, costing the County thousands of dollars in housing code enforcement and impacting the value of nearby property.

In addition, many purchasers of foreclosed properties—often banks and out-of-state investors—wait to record the deed to the property until it is resold to another purchaser. By circumventing the normal process and improperly (and illegally) transferring the property to a new homeowner in this fashion, the County does not receive the recordation tax or the transfer tax, which shortchanges the County of approximately $6,000 in revenue for a property of average value.

Fast Fact

Check out this excellent marketing video from Visit Montgomery, the official tourism bureau for Montgomery County. It is a great reminder of why we love our county.

Green Tip of the Month

leaves on a tree

Did you know that more than 1,800 trees have been planted by the development community and the County’s Department of Environmental Protection since we passed the Tree Canopy Law in 2014? Planting trees helps offset the negative impacts of development on the natural environment. Properly cared for, trees are growing assets with high returns on investment.

Tree Montgomery continues to look for single-family, multi-family, condominium, homeowner associations and commercial properties to participate in the program. Sign up now to have your new tree planted within the next year.

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 2017

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