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August 14, 2020 |  Bookmark and Share

A Message from County Executive Marc Elrich

County Executive Marc Elrich

Dear Friends:

Some of you may not know that I was an elementary school teacher for 17 years before I moved into fulltime local government. 

So I understand the importance of in-person learning, I understand kids in schools, and I know people are eager to get our students back to classes. So am I. But I also have been watching the data every day and consulting with our public health experts.   

That is why I supported the decision of our Public Health Officer, Dr. Travis Gayles, to issue a health directive that private schools in our County could not open for in-person learning until at least Oct. 1. (Our public school system had already decided to open with virtual learning only for the first semester.)  That directive provoked a lawsuit, an outcry from many parents and others and criticism from Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. Because of multiple actions by the State, Dr. Gayles rescinded his order, but his concerns about schools opening for in-person instruction remain.  

The level of community transmission is still too high to safely start in-person classes. When European countries restarted in-person classes, their daily infection rate was averaging two new cases per 100,000 residents. Current daily infection rates in Montgomery County are running almost five times higher. When Governor Hogan made the decision to stop in-person learning this past spring, we were identifying only four new cases a day for the entire County—and now we are running more than 70 cases per day. There also are other metrics that our public health experts look at to determine what can safely reopen. I want to emphasize that there is no one metric—no one magical number—that will let us know that it is safe to resume activities. Many different issues and metrics must be considered. 

I know some nonpublic schools believe they can keep students within the well-known guidelines that include proper social distancing, wearing face coverings and constantly washing hands. I remain deeply concerned about the loss of every day of instruction. I want nothing more than in-person classes to start again.  But I also want every child, every teacher, every staff member and all of their families to remain safe and healthy. Unfortunately, even with all our common effort and sacrifices, we are not ready to safely restart classes. Science, data and concern for public health will dictate our decisions.  

Despite requests to the State beginning two weeks ago, we continue to await their guidelines for reopening schools. We will use those guidelines to help schools in their plans for the fall, and we hope that all will proceed with utmost caution and not rush a return to in-person classes. 

I also would like to let you know that testing at multiple County sponsored sites has been temporarily suspended. Our website has a link to other test sites around the county.  

In addition, I wanted to address the upcoming elections. The way we vote this fall will be quite different from what we are used to. First, I would urge everyone to vote by mail. You can request an application online and you also will be receiving an application to request a ballot. 

Please: if you are able, request a mail-in ballot rather than an internet link. The internet link is important for those overseas and for certain special populations, but ballots received via internet link must be hand counted. And hand counting is time consuming and particularly difficult during this pandemic.  

It is important to vote and easier to vote via mail, but request the “in the mail” ballot choice, not the “through email” ballot. Every registered voter should be receiving an application for mail in ballot by the end of the month. Also, know there will be drop boxes for your “in the mail” ballot placed in locations throughout Montgomery County when it is time to return the ballot. 

I will share more information with you in the coming weeks about the election process, but for now, the most important information to know is to request an “in the mail” ballot on your application.  

Again, thank you for your understanding. Stay healthy and keep following the guidelines. 

Your actions are making a difference – please keep it up.


Marc Elrich

Marc Elrich, County Executive


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Montgomery County Streamlines Short-Term COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program; Applications Reopen on Tuesday, Aug. 18

HOC and DHCA logo

Montgomery County will re-launch a COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program for tenants who meet eligibility requirements. The program is intended to provide partial rent support to low-income households that have experienced income loss due to the COVID-19 health crisis. Approved households may receive a maximum of $600 per month for up to three months, paid to their landlord.

The Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County (HOC) will administer the program and accept applications and supporting documents starting at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 18. Applications can be submitted through 2 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 31. Applications will be reviewed using a random selection method from the pool of applications received by the deadline.

The application has been substantially streamlined from the original launch of the program, with reduced documentation requirements to address the difficulties experienced initially. Prior applicants who were not successful have been encouraged to reapply.

County renters who apply for COVID-19 rental assistance must certify that they have income under a certain amount; that due to COVID-19 they lost income or had certain new expenses; and that they are a U.S. citizen or qualified alien (e.g., permanent resident). Applicants must be at least one month behind on their rent and have been a resident of the County for six of the prior 12 months.

All assistance is contingent on the availability of funds.

A sample application form (in pdf) and Frequently Asked Questions is available now at website. 


More Information

County Executive Elrich Nominates Budget Director Richard Madaleno to Serve as New Chief Administrative Officer

Richar Madaleno

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich has nominated County Budget Director Richard Madaleno to serve as the County’s new chief administrative officer (CAO). Madaleno will begin serving as acting CAO on Aug. 16.

Madaleno’s nomination follows the resignation of Andrew Kleine, who served as CAO for the first 20 months of the Elrich administration.

Madaleno, who has directed the Office of Management and Budget since the start of the Elrich administration, is a lifelong Montgomery County resident. He has served in leadership roles at the County and State levels.

He served from 2003 to 2007 in the Maryland House of Delegates and from 2007 to 2019 as a State Senator representing District 18. Madaleno was the vice chair of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee. He was a leader in education reform, serving on the Kirwan Commission that studied ways to improve education in the State. Madaleno worked in the County's Office of Intergovernmental Relations from 1995 to 2002.

“Rich is trusted by community groups and policymakers throughout the County and State for his leadership skills and budgeting acumen, which will serve the County well as we face the most significant challenges of our generation,” said County Executive Elrich. “I am confident that his experience and expertise will help my administration deliver on my promise to build a healthy, well-functioning, innovative, equitable and inclusive community for all of our residents.”

The nomination must be approved by the County Council. Councilmembers are scheduled to return from their summer recess in September.

County’s Animal Adoption Center Participating in NBC/Telemundo’s ‘Clear the Shelters’ August Event

clear the shelters
24 pet watch logo

Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center (MCASAC), located at 7315 Muncaster Mill Rd. in Derwood, has reopened its facility to the public for animal adoptions. In August, MCASAC is working in conjunction with NBC and Telemundo’s annual  “Clear the Shelters” nationwide adoption event.

For the event, throughout August, MCASAC adoption fees will be discounted by 50 percent. Due to the COVID-19 health crisis, adoptions will take place by appointment only. Face coverings and human social distancing are required.

Interested residents can visit MCASAC’s website for more information on appointment scheduling and to view available animals. Standard adoption requirements and policies apply.  


MCASAC Website

New ‘Farm to Food Bank’ Investment Will Fill Nutrition Gap for Montgomery Residents Experiencing Hunger


The Montgomery County “Farm to Food Bank” program has announced an initial investment of more than $200,000 in local farms to provide more nutritious and culturally diverse produce to residents who experience hunger.

The program is a partnership between the Montgomery County Food Security Task Force, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Manna Food Center, the Montgomery Food Council and the County Office of Agriculture.

Since March, food insecurity in Montgomery County has increased by 50 percent, with more than 100,000 residents receiving food assistance. In June, 86 percent of food assistance providers reported that they did not have sufficient supplies of fresh produce to distribute to clients.

With County funding provided through the Food Security Task Force, Manna Food Center will serve as the program administrator to purchase about 100,000 pounds of produce during the first phase of the program, which runs through November.

Manna will distribute corn, tomatoes, squash, potatoes, berries and other produce to a network of County food assistance providers and directly to its own clients, reaching at least 20,000 people who experience hunger.

The first phase of this new program investment will include partnerships with at least eight local farms. Farms participating in Phase I of the program include Butler’s Orchard, Dodo Farms, Lewis Orchards, Metro Microgreens, Sandy Spring Gardens and The Farm at Our House. Phase II of the program, which will begin in the fall, will establish a grant program for farmers to receive capacity-building funding in exchange for a commitment to provide products to the program in 2021.

Farm to Food Bank

MontgomeryConnects! to Provide Free Tech Support for Seniors and Increase Internet Connectivity for Low-Income Households

montgomery connects

MontgomeryConnects!, a free Montgomery County program to help every household get connected to the Internet, has been launched with the goal of providing tech support for seniors and increasing Internet connectivity for low-income households. The special program was designed to ensure every person has the training and confidence to use technology for daily living and to enable them to fully participate in the digital economy.

Through Aug. 28, one-on-one tech support appointments are being offered for seniors and low-income families. The support is available in 12 languages between 10 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. Monday through Friday by video Zoom or telephone. To access the program and request an appointment, visit or call 311.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has driven home the message that every home needs an Internet connection and every person needs to know how to use the Internet," said County Executive Marc Elrich. "Staying connected allows kids to learn, people to work and do business and for all of us to get access to public health services and information and stay in touch with friends and family."

For the first phase of MontgomeryConnects!, members of the County Covid Corps, who have been specially trained by the Senior Planet Montgomery program, will provide the one-on-one tech support.

In addition to English, the support will be available in Spanish, Chinese (Mandarin), Amharic, Farsi, French, Hindi, Korean, Malayalam, Nepali, Portuguese and Russian.

Covid Corps team members can assist residents with questions or problems with issues including phones, computers, tablets, printers, email, using the Internet or application and Zoom account set-up.

The program will provide information about obtaining Internet service plans ranging from $9.95 to $19.95 per month via Comcast, RCN or Verizon FiOS.


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National Association and Montgomery ABS Team to Donate $10,000 to County Economic Development Corporation to Aid Businesses Impacted by COVID-19


The National Alcohol Beverage Control Association, on behalf of Montgomery County Alcohol Beverage Services (ABS), has donated $10,000 to the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) to aid businesses that have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 health crisis. MCEDC has worked closely with a variety of partners, including the County government and Visit Montgomery, to develop responses and share resources with local businesses.

The donation will go to the 3R Initiative (Reopen, Relaunch and Reimagine) of MCEDC. The initiative is a community-based pilot project being developed in collaboration with Streetsense, a nationally recognized Bethesda placemaking and retail consulting firm. The public-private partnership will support the reopening and recovery of local restaurants and retail storefronts selected to participate in this year-long pilot project.  


More Information

Two In-Person and Four Virtual Public Hearings to be Held in August and September on I-495 / I-270 Managed Lanes

managed lanes study

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), the State Highway Administration (SHA) and the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) will jointly host two in-person and four virtual public hearings in August and September on the I-495 / I-270 Managed Lanes Study Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). The managed lanes study is examining the feasibility of adding tolled lanes to portions of I-495 and I-270.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) will participate in the virtual public hearing on Tuesday, Aug. 25.

One in-person event is scheduled in each of Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. For both the in-person and virtual public hearings, residents will have three minutes to provide testimony and registration is required in advance. Hearing materials can be viewed at the document availability locations or on the event page website.

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich sent a letter to MDOT Secretary Greg Slater in late July asking the State to extend the comment period to at least 120 days to give the community more time to review and respond to the complex and lengthy DEIS. County Executive Elrich wrote that the currently recommended 90-day study period is inadequate, especially due to the complications of the COVID-19 health crisis.

“Reading, reviewing and analyzing this report is a substantial additional burden at this time,” the County Executive wrote. “My bigger concern is that you are expecting the community, as well as volunteer organizations, to read and digest almost 18,000 pages in 90 days.”

The State’s hearings are proceeding as originally planned.

Virtual hearings will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 18, Thursday, Aug. 20, Tuesday, Aug. 25 (Official USACE Hearing) and Thursday, Sept. 3. There will be three sessions each day: From 9 a.m.-noon; from 1-4 p.m. and from 5-8 p.m.

Two in-person hearings will be held. Each will run from noon-9 p.m. on the following schedule:

  • Tuesday, Sept. 1, in Prince George’s County: Homewood Suites by Hilton, 9103 Basil Ct., Largo.
  • Thursday, Sept. 10 in Montgomery County: Hilton Executive Meeting Center, 1750 Rockville Pike, Rockville.


Details and Registration