Nancy Floreen's Montgomery in Focus, June 2017

Council Unanimously Approves Budget

All nine Council members raising their hands.

This morning we reached unanimous agreement on a $5.4 billion County operating budget for Fiscal Year 2018, a 2.7 percent increase over the approved budget for FY 2017. The budget strongly supports Montgomery County Public Schools, Montgomery College, the County’s public safety programs and the safety net services provided by the County and non-profit organizations. And we did not raise your taxes!

I'm particularly pleased we were able to increase funding for our Parks and Recreation Departments, which are separate in Montgomery County. These departments were hit hard during the recession, and we continue to work to bring some aspects of their budgets back to pre-recession levels and to expand and enhance some of the facilities and services residents enjoy most. This year, we increased funding for catching up on deferred maintenance and cleaning, enhancing ballfields and expanding park facilities and trail systems. On the capital side of the budget, we kept the North Branch Trail and the Little Bennett Day Use Area projects on schedule, which is great news for the neighboring communities. We also managed to avoid delaying the Ovid Hazen Wells Recreational Area project, including relocation of the carousel from Wheaton Regional Park to Ovid Hazen Wells Park, thereby fulfilling our long-standing commitment to the residents of Clarksburg.

See the full press release, including highlights by departments, a link to the approved list of community grants and a link to the final list of approved reconciliation items. The budget goes into effect on July 1.

New Planning Board Member

I'm very pleased to say we appointed Tina Patterson of Germantown, whose background includes extensive experience in dispute resolution, Planning Board by the Montgomery County Council. She will replace Marye Wells-Harley, whose second term on the board will expire on June 14. She was not eligible for reappointment.

Ms. Patterson is the principal at Jade Solutions, LLC of Germantown. She is not affiliated with a political party.

Ms. Patterson’s business, Jade Solutions, provides consulting services including product management, proposal development, alternative dispute resolution and facilitation services. She is a member of Committee for Montgomery and Leadership Montgomery. She is a volunteer with the Montgomery County Interfaith Advisory Board. She previously served on the Board of Directors of the Black Rock Center for the Arts in Germantown.

Bill to Expand Property Tax Credit

In March we approved my bill to create a new property tax credit for residents who are at least 65 years old and who have lived in the same home for at least 40 years. The bill also provides a tax credit for residents 65 or older who are retired veterans of the U.S. military. Now I've introduced Bill 13-17 to expand the credit to include members of the uniformed services, the military reserves or the National Guard. Uniformed services include the Commissioned Corps of the United States Public Health Service in the Department of Health and Human Services and Commissioned Corps in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the Department of Commerce. Both are headquartered in Montgomery County. Visit the Council's Web site if you want to sign up to speak at the public hearing on June 13.

Trash and Recycling Collection

Over the last month, the County has experienced a higher than normal level of service problems with one of its solid waste collection contractors, Potomac Disposal, Inc., specifically impacting the Bethesda and Silver Spring areas. While trash collection is occurring on the regular schedule, residents in these areas continue to experience delays in the collection of yard trim, scrap metal and small amounts of recycling. The County is working to address this unacceptable level of service. Visit the Department of Environmental Protection's Web site for up-to-date information.

Water and Sewer Plan Update

In the coming weeks, the Council will take up the 2017 Draft Update to the Water and Sewer Plan, which is a functional master plan for providing water and sewer services throughout Montgomery County. As such, it provides an important link between the County's land use and development planning and the actual construction of the water supply and sewerage systems needed to implement that planning effort. This plan is separate from a policy that the Department of Environmental Protection is currently drafting to address old (pre-1975) septic systems in the RE-1 zoned areas of the County, which will be considered separately. Sign up online for the public hearing on June 15.

Fast Fact

David Rekhtman, Sambuddha Chattopadhyay and Rohan Dalvi receiving proclamations from Nancy Floreen

Congratulations to Walt Whitman High School student David Rekhtman and Montgomery Blair High School students Sambuddha Chattopadhyay and Rohan Dalvi for being named among the 40 finalists in the Regeneron Science Talent Search and competing for top honors at a high-profile event in Washington D.C. The Regeneron Science Talent Search was formerly known as the Intel Science Talent Search and the Westinghouse Science Talent Search. Despite the change in sponsors/names over the decades, it is still the nation's oldest and most prestigious science competition, having honored the nation's most promising young scientists since 1942. Each of the finalists received $25,000 scholarships.

In his project, A Study of the Induction of Immunogenic Cell Death in Response to Local Ablative Therapies of Cancer, David Rekhtman experimented with heating cancer cells using a laser to prompt an immune response. In his project, On T-Reflection via Analytic Continuation in Quantum Mechanics, Sambuddha Chattopadhyay explored dark energy, looking for ways to understand and quantify it. In his project, Kinetic Trapping and Structural Determination of Native-State Biomolecules in the Gas Phase, Rohan Dalvi aided Georgetown University researchers in developing a faster and more efficient technique for gauging the size and structure of biomolecules.

Green Tip of the Month

back of a single-family house with solar panels on the roof

Most solar energy installers are skilled and effective professionals, but if problems arise, Montgomery County residents have a strong ally on their side--the Office of Consumer Protection. 

Certainly solar energy is a good thing for the planet and for consumers who can get a better deal on monthly energy bills. However, fluctuating energy prices and complex contracts can sometimes create the conditions for misunderstanding or even misconduct. In a very few extreme cases, major crimes like fraud have been alleged.
Learn how to protect yourself in this consumer alert video the OCP recently created for solar installations after receiving an increase in calls about the industry.

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.

June 2017

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