Worth Noting

Public Forum on Proposed Ride On Service Changes

To help close the projected budget shortfall of $608 million for Fiscal Year 2011, the County is proposing to reduce and/or eliminate Ride On routes that have the fewest riders or those where other alternative service exists. Ride On delivers about 30 million trips per year. These program reductions would eliminate one million trips. They would also save $1.2 million in this fiscal year and about $4.3 million for FY11. 

Residents are invited to comment on proposed changes to Ride On’s bus service at a public forum on Monday, February 1 at 6:30 p.m., at the Executive Office Building Cafeteria, Terrace Level, 101 Monroe St., Rockville.  In case of inclement weather, the forum will be held on Tuesday, February 2 at the same location.

Individuals and representatives of organizations wishing to speak must register by January 25. Get details on press release.

Council Creates Phone Message Line for Budget Input

To help solicit input from residents on the Fiscal Year 2011 Operating Budget, the County Council has opened a new dedicated phone line -- 240-777-7802 -- so residents can express their opinions and thoughts.

Over the next five months the Council and its committees will examine the budget requests from County departments, plus requests of County agencies, such as Montgomery County Public Schools, Montgomery College and the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.

“This line is open to any and all types of ideas,” said Council President Nancy Floreen. “We are expanding the number of methods available to seek fresh thoughts and reach people who may not be able to participate in the process through other channels.”

Maryland’s Public School System – At The Top of the Class, Again

For the second straight year, Maryland’s education system has been rated first in the country according to Education Week’s annual education report card.  Maryland earned a B+ grade overall, followed by New York and Massachusetts which received B grades.  Most states earned C grades or lower. 

Reports are based on Chance for Success, transitions and alignment; school finance; K-12 achievement; standards, assessments and accountability; and the teaching professions.

Montgomery County Public Schools have the largest student population of any system in Maryland.

FreshMarket Goes Year Round in Downtown Silver Spring

Congratulations to Downtown Silver Spring for being home to the latest year round farmers market in the area.

Operated by FreshFarm Markets, the market on Ellsworth Drive will be open for business each Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. until April 3 when the hours will be 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

For more on the Silver Spring year round market, go to www.silverspringdowntown.com/calendar.

On The Horizon: A New Wheaton

The County has issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to select development partners to develop and execute mixed-use, public-private projects for downtown Wheaton.

Partnering with Metro (the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority), the County will offer 11 acres of parking lots and Transit Station areas in 10 parcels for potential development sites. Selected development partners will work with all stakeholders in the community and seek to aggregate additional lands to plan and develop high-quality, transit-oriented, mixed-use projects that will create places to live, work and shop in downtown Wheaton. The deadline for responses to the RFQ by the private sector is March 19. The County and Metro will evaluate the responses and make a recommendation to the County Executive and the Metro Board by July. The aim would be to secure a partner by late summer. Press Release

To view or download the RFQ solicitation document and background materials, go to http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/content/DGS/Dir/wheatonRFQ.asp

A Growing International Business Presence

In early December, the Department of Economic Development welcomed three foreign-headquartered companies that opening their U.S. offices in Montgomery County.

Headquartered in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, PV Inova develops innovative technologies and software targeting fleet managers in the transportation industry. 

Daewoong America, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Daewoong Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. of South Korea, is Korea’s second largest pharmaceutical company and the country’s top prescription drug seller.  

Both PV Inova and Daewoong are located in the Rockville Innovation Center, the County’s international business incubator.

YISHENG Biotech Development Co. Ltd.  is one of the largest privately owned vaccine manufacturers in China. Yisheng US BIOPHARMA INC will occupy 5,000 square feet of space in Gaithersburg and initially function as an R&D center.

First Tenant Survey Reflects Concerns About Rent Hikes and Affordability

The recently released results of the first-ever survey of tenants in Montgomery County included concerns by local renters about rent increases and affordability. There are approximately 80,000 rental units in the County, amounting to 25 percent of the County’s households.

The survey was conducted by the Institute for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement of Salisbury University in conjunction with the County Tenants Work Group established last year by Leggett to analyze problems faced by county renters and make recommendations for possible actions and changes. The report, along with recommendations, is due in late January.

Among the findings of the “Montgomery County Rental Satisfaction Survey” were:

  • Nearly 20 percent of tenants reported average rent increases of eight percent or more. Another 52 percent said their rents increased in the four to seven percent range.
  • Forty-three percent of respondents did not expect that they could continue to afford to pay rent five years from now in their current rental.
  • Over 82 percent said that current rent affordability was their first or second most important concern, followed by safety/crime at 77 percent, and long-term rent affordability at 75 percent.
  • Over 80 percent of tenants felt comfortable in approaching their landlord or property manager with concerns. Seventy-one percent believed them to be responsive. Twenty percent said they had not raised concerns with their landlord for fear of retaliation.

For more information, visit Tenants Work Group Website.

Montgomery County Public Libraries Say, “Check Us Out!”

Storytimes, book clubs, Meet the Authors, classes and much more are available at Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL).

To keep up with all that is going on at your local public library – and at other branches around the county – you only need “Check Us Out!” the quarterly guide to the programs, classes and events offered at libraries throughout the county.

 Pick up the current December 2009-February 2010 issue at any MCPL branch or find it at MCPL homepage.

And The Hits Just Keep Coming 

For the sixth straight year, the number of visitors to Montgomery County’s website – www.montgomerycountymd.gov - increased, reflecting county residents’ continued demand for on-line services and information.

For the first time, the number of unique visitors to the website during a calendar year exceeded 10 million. This represents a six percent increase over 2008. The County’s website received more than 935 million hits in 2009, an increase of eight percent over last year. Each hit constitutes a single file requested by a website visitor. The number of website page views increased by 14 percent to more than 134 million.

Also in 2009, Montgomery County was recognized by the Center for Digital Government and the National Association of Counties (NACo) as the second ranked “Digital County” among jurisdictions with populations of 500,000 or more. Thousands of counties from across the nation competed with Montgomery County for the top award by participating in the 2009 Digital Counties Survey. County officials nationwide responded to a series of questions that included more than 100 measurements and data points about online service delivery, infrastructure, architecture and governance models.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED AT: Friday, January 22, 2010 | 3:00:00 PM |
News and Information from Montgomery County Government, Public Information Office.
To subscribe email newsletter,
visit eSubscription.