Reopening Montgomery: The Rules of COVID-19 Safety Apply to All

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October 8, 2020 |  Bookmark and Share

A Message from County Executive Marc Elrich

County Executive Marc Elrich

Dear Friends:

We are 25 days away from Election Day. If you are planning to vote in person, please know that there are only 40 sites that will be available on Election Day, Nov. 3, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., but you can go to any of those sites to vote. There will also be 11 early voting sites from Monday, Oct. 26, through Monday, Nov. 2, as well as on Election Day. More information about locations is available here: Voting Center Locations

Your ballot will include various questions. I will be voting for Question A and against Question B.  Question A will help us address a longstanding problem in the way we collect revenue from property taxes. It will focus on the tax rate rather than the total revenues collected. Like our existing system, a unanimous vote of the entire County Council would be required to raise the property tax rate. Question A will allow the County to benefit from economic growth. Everyone agrees that we need to grow the economy, but under our current system, we get no benefits from the growth and we still have to pay the costs that come with that growth.  

Our neighbors (and competitors) in the region are focused on the future they want for their communities. They are investing in infrastructure that businesses and residents want and need. Our current system prevents us from addressing our needs in education, affordable housing and transportation. It leaves our residents and our business community with the false perception that we cannot manage our resources when, in fact, our potential resources are severely limited by the existing property tax system, which was enacted 30 years ago. In the intervening years, our school population has grown by 65 percent and overall population by 40 percent.

In the last 30 years, we have struggled to meet the needs of our County—from traffic congestion to climate change to greater economic disparity. Over the same time period, the tax rate has declined 35 percent and is the lowest among comparable counties in Maryland. 

(See the table below.)

chart about property tax rates

Property Tax Rates: Montgomery County vs Comparable MD Counties

I will be voting against Question B, which takes away the ability of Councilmembers to adjust the amount of property tax revenues allowed to be collected—even in times of emergency and great need. Question B deprives us of democratic representation. Question B makes the current situation worse. Currently, total property tax revenues raised cannot exceed the amount of revenues raised in the previous year plus the rate of inflation—unless the entire County Council votes to go beyond the rate of inflation. Question B would take away all discretion from the County Council, our elected representatives. And as you probably know from your property tax bills, the current system does NOT limit your property taxes to the rate of inflation. The growth of the total revenue collected for the entire County is limited to inflation. You can read more about the problems with Question B here:

Please be sure to vote—you can still request a mail-in ballot (until Oct. 20) and drop it off at one of the many secure drop boxes around the County. You can still register to vote through Oct. 13 and you also will be able to register at early voting sites and on Election Day. However, that may require much more time, so register in advance if you are able.

Take care and please continue to MaskUp and maintain physical distance.



Marc Elrich


Marc Elrich,
County Executive


P.S. For the artists among us: Enter the competition for artwork to be featured in the County’s climate action plan. Read more

P.P.S. In my video I talk about COVID-19 testing, protecting the public health and Indigenous Peoples’ Day – please have a look!


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Guidelines for Cool Weather Outdoor Seating at Food Establishments Will Be Featured Topic at Forum for Business Owners on Thursday, Oct. 15

outdoor dining

Many Montgomery County establishments that serve food and drinks have made significant adaptions during the COVID-19 health crisis to expand the ways they serve patrons during warm weather months using outdoor seating. The County’s Phase 2 restrictions remain in effect, but the onset of cooler weather will have food service establishments looking for new ways to serve their customers—such as the use of heaters and tents for outdoor seating.


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County-Operated COVID-19 Testing Will Expand to 42 Clinics on Upcoming Schedule

testing updates

Montgomery County will significantly expand its COVID-19 testing program over the next eight days as it will hold 42 County-operated clinics. That schedule triples the number of clinics the County has held in its previous busiest weeks. Those clinics will be in addition to more than 45 private providers who are continuing to operate testing clinics.


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Child Care Providers and Families Can Apply for Financial Assistance That Will Increase Access to Licensed Full-Day, School-Age Child Care


Applications are now being accepted to support school-age child care providers that operate licensed child care programs in public school buildings and help eligible families pay for full-day care during virtual learning. The County Council unanimously approved a $7 million special appropriation last week for an initiative sponsored by Council President Sidney Katz and strongly supported by County Executive Marc Elrich.


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County Expands Emergency Assistance Relief Payment Program to Low-Income Residents

Emergency Assistance

Montgomery County’s Emergency Assistance Relief Payment (EARP) program is expanding to include financial assistance to more low-income households who do not qualify for other types of Federal and State support.


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Voting Update: Avoid Lines and Stay Safe by Voting by Mail

make your mailbox your ballot box

Election day—Tuesday, Nov. 3—is less than one month away, and for those who have ordered mail-in ballots (it is not too late to do that), they will arrive soon—if they have not already arrived. In Montgomery County, there will only be about 40 polling places open throughout the County on Election Day (usually there are 255 voting locations). Here is some important election information.

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County Executive is Holding Series of Virtual FY22 Budget Forums, with Next One TONIGHT, Thursday, Oct. 8

virtual town hall meeting

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich is holding a series of virtual forums about priorities for the Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) Operating Budget and the Capital Improvements Program (CIP) budget. The next forum will be held starting at 7 p.m. TONIGHT, Thursday, Oct. 8, and will focus on the operating budget. Each of the forums will be hosted via Microsoft Teams.


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Glenmont Forest and Wheaton Hills ‘Green Streets’ Project Awarded $1.5 million in Grants to Improve Water Quality, Manage Stormwater

glenmont forest green streets stormwater familities

The Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has received three grants totaling $1.5 million to construct a “Green Streets Project” in the Silver Spring neighborhoods of Glenmont Forest and Wheaton Hills to improve water quality of local streams and help manage stormwater runoff.


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Montgomery County Joins Celebration of October as ‘Energy Action Month’ with Focus on Lowering Energy Use and Costs

October is energy act on month

October is “Energy Action Month” and Montgomery County, through the Montgomery Energy Connection network, will be hosting events in partnership with the County’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Montgomery County Recreation, the County’s Department of Health and Human Services and community partners to provide residents with information and opportunities to lower energy costs.


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Registration Open for 2020 Montgomery Energy Summit That Will Be Held Virtually Nov. 17-19

energy summit 2020

Registration is now open for the seventh annual Montgomery County Energy Summit, which will be held virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 health pandemic. The Summit is scheduled for Tuesday-Thursday, Nov. 17-19. Sessions will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday and from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Thursday.


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New Deadline on 2020 Census Will Have Self-Response and Field Operations Extended Through Saturday, Oct. 31

census deadline  is extended to Oct. 31

The U.S. Census Bureau, after a court ruling last week, will extend its self-response and field operations for the 2020 Census through Saturday, Oct. 31.  All households who have not yet responded are urged to do so online immediately at or via phone at 844-330-2020. There are multiple language options available online and via phone.  


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