The Montgomery County Council at approximately 9:45 a.m. on Tuesday, May 13, is expected to take action on a resolution urging the Maryland District Court to increase fines to $250 for drivers caught illegally passing stopped school buses by cameras mounted on the buses.
The Council also will continue its review of County Executive Isiah Leggett’s recommended Fiscal Year 2015 operating budget. The Council is scheduled to reach a tentative agreement on the overall operating budget on May 15 and is scheduled to formally adopt the budget on May 22. The budget will go into effect on July 1.
The Council’s regular weekly session will begin at 9:30 a.m. in the Third Floor Hearing Room of the Council Office Building at 100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville. The Council’s morning and afternoon sessions, and four public hearings scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m., will be televised live by County Cable Montgomery (CCM—Cable Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon). The broadcast also will be streamed at:
The Council meeting will be rebroadcast on Friday, May 16, at 9 p.m. and will be available before that time on demand.
State law prohibits drivers from passing a school bus when the vehicle has stopped and is operating its flashing red lights. In January 2014, the County began implementing its program in which County Police and Montgomery County Public Schools worked together to install cameras on a limited number of buses to record violators.
In the first four months of operation, the cameras recorded and issued 375 violations. Although Maryland law allows for civil penalties for violating this law to be up to $250, the chief judge of the District Court of Maryland set the penalty at $125 per violation. At an April 28 joint meeting of the Council’s Education and Public Safety committees, Councilmembers stated that they believed the amount of the fines has not been high enough to be an effective deterrent to some drivers.
The resolution to be addressed urges the chief judge to increase the fines to a maximum of $250.
During the morning session, the Council will review the budget request of the Department of Health and Human Services. The County Executive has recommended a total FY15 budget of $277.7 million, which would be a 6.2 percent increase over the FY14 approved budget.
The Council also will hold a worksession on the Kennedy Cluster Project that provides a variety of comprehensive services for students attending those schools in an attempt to bolster their academic success. A joint meeting of the Council’s Health and Human Services Committee and its Education Committee previously recommended that the full Council consider expanding the comprehensive services approach to the Watkins Mill Cluster. The recommendation was made by a 3-2 vote, with Councilmembers Cherri Branson, Nancy Navarro and Craig Rice in favor and Councilmembers Phil Andrews and George Leventhal opposed.
During the morning session, the Council also will address community grants recommended by the County Executive and the Council for FY15.
The afternoon session will include worksessions on budget adjustments for the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Correction and Rehabilitation. It also will have a follow-up discussion on staffing for the new Germantown Urban Park.
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