The Glass Gazette: March 21, 2024

A decorative banner that reads "The Glass Gazette." Behind the text are of Councilmember Glass and spring activities

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March 21, 2024

Montgomery County Operating Budget

Last week the County Executive transmitted his FY25 operating budget. The $7.1 billion budget funds many essential aspects of life in Montgomery County, from schools to roads and healthcare to public safety. 

Over the next two months, the council will review the County Executive’s proposal, receive input from residents, and ultimately approve the final operating budget for the upcoming fiscal year. As in previous years, I look forward to robust conversations with colleagues and neighbors about our shared priorities. 

To learn more about what’s in the proposed budget, you can visit the Office of Management and Budget’s homepage. The council’s public hearings on the operating budget are scheduled for Monday, April 8 and Tuesday, April 9 at 1:30 and 7 p.m. If you are interested in testifying at public hearings you can register online

Councilmember Glass sits at his desk reading the operating budget binder

Councilmember Glass in his office looking through the proposed budget

Pay Equity Day

Last week was National Pay Equity Day, an annual reminder that women who work full-time, year-round, take this long into the new year to earn as much as men did the year before. In Maryland, women make about 86 cents for each dollar a man makes. The data is even worse for women of color: Black women earn approximately 69 cents and Latinas earn 49 cents. 

As we reflect on the national and statewide statistics, I am proud that the Montgomery County Pay Equity Act was the first law I passed as a councilmember. Since it was signed into law in 2019, I am extremely proud that we have closed the gender wage gap for new county employees. You can read more about the positive effects of the Pay Equity Act here

A graphic that reads "In Montgomery County, equal work = equal pay"

Housing Affordability

We all know that housing is extremely expensive in our region. According to our Department of Transportation, each underground parking space in our urban areas costs between $70,000 - $100,000 to construct. Those costs are currently passed down to residents, whether they own a car or not. 

I’m pleased that the Council unanimously approved a zoning measure I introduced with Councilmembers Friedson and Mink to reduce the cost of housing while also promoting car-free living. The measure, Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 23-10, loosens outdated minimum parking requirements for new development close to transit hubs — specifically, buildings within a half-mile radius of a Metro or Purple Line station and a quarter-mile radius of a Bus Rapid Transit station. These policies have been adopted in hundreds of cities across the country and have reduced rent or mortgage payments by $200 - $500 per month. 

You can read more about ZTA 23-10 here

A picture of Councilmember Glass and colleagues at a press conference about the measure

Councilmember Glass and colleagues at the press conference introducing the measure

Closing the Digital Divide

I recently had the opportunity to distribute hundreds of laptops to residents in need. As part of the Montgomery Connects program, we have provided more than 50,000 laptops, with another 60,000 in the distribution pipeline, to our neighbors who could not otherwise afford a personal laptop. The funding for this program is entirely supported by grants from the federal government. 

When the pandemic forced schools and libraries to close, it was a stark reminder of the importance of internet access or lack thereof. You can learn more about the program by watching this short video and find more information here.

Councilmember Glass hands a computer to a resident

Councilmember Glass working with the Office of Broadband Programs to distribute free laptops

Stormwater Management

The county's Department of Environmental Protection recently organized a tour of our local stream restoration sites to view ongoing work related to stormwater management. Stream restoration allows the county to protect adjacent properties and public infrastructure by reducing stream bank erosion, maintaining stream beds, and restoring aquatic ecosystems. 

Maryland law requires Montgomery County to manage over 1,800 acres of hard surfaces, like parking lots and paved roads, that don’t absorb rainwater and consequently elevate the risk of flooding and pollution. I recently held a Transportation & Environment Committee hearing about the need to balance federal and state stormwater control requirements with protecting our natural environment. As we move forward, we need to invest more resources in upstream water capture and bioretention efforts.

Councilmember Glass look at a map of stormwater management sites

Councilmember Glass visiting one of the stream water restoration sites

Constituent Corner

A resident reached out to me about two county trees abutting his property line. The sagging branches obstructed sunlight, created issues with his yard, and risked damaging property and power lines. We connected him with MCDOT, who sent inspectors to assess the property. They responded promptly and added both trees to the pruning schedule for trimming later this year.

A man in a hard hat pruning a tree

Did You Know?

You still have time to nominate someone for the 2024 Montgomery Serves Awards! These annual awards are the county’s highest honors for volunteerism, recognizing individuals and businesses who have gone above and beyond in their service to our community. Specific honors include Volunteer of the Year, Youth Volunteer of the Year, Volunteer Group of the Year, Business Volunteer of the Year, and the Neal Potter Path of Achievement Award for a lifetime of volunteerism. The winners will be named at an awards ceremony in June.

Nominations are open until Friday, March 29. To learn more about the awards or to submit a nomination, visit the Volunteer Center’s webpage about the program.

A graphic reading "Montgomery Serves Awards: honoring those who serve"

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