Montgomery in Focus Masthead
December 2012

 

My Proposal to Ban Smoking on County Property

Nancy Floreen at podiumI have unfortunately spent a lot of time over the past year with people who have cancer, and I want to do my part to prevent this awful disease in all its forms. My proposal to ban smoking on property leased or owned by the County, except public rights of way, is a good place to start.
 
Secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals. Hundreds of them are toxic and about 70 are known to cause cancer. Secondhand smoke especially affects children and women who are pregnant. According to the American Cancer Society, there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke.

I introduced the bill on November 27, and we will hold a public hearing on January 15 (call 240-777-7803 to sign up). You can see the press conference on County Cable Montgomery's County Report This Week (smoking ban story begins at 7:12).


 

Council Approves Subdivision Staging Policy

weldome to wheaton signAfter months of study, we approved revisions to the County’s 2012-16 Subdivision Staging Policy (which was formerly called the Growth Policy). The policy sets rules regarding transportation and school adequacy for proposed new developments.

One of the changes addressed in the revisions is that the new test of area-wide transportation adequacy will measure transit and road adequacy separately. New projects in areas where transit or roads are inadequate may only move forward by paying a premium equal to 25 percent of the regular transportation impact tax for the project. The premium would increase to 50 percent if both the transit and road capacities for the area are inadequate.

The approved policy also revises the test of adequacy at intersections, so it will more accurately reflect the actual congestion experienced by commuters in the peak direction of travel, and it generally mirrors standards recommended by the National Academy of Sciences' Transportation Research Board.

Additionally, housing developments in 15 high school clusters will pay a premium. Projects in 15 areas will pay a premium for not meeting the transit adequacy test, and in Fairland/White Oak will pay a premium for not meeting the roadway adequacy test.


 

Montgomery Business Development Corporation Names President

Through the Montgomery Business Development Corporation, we get guidance from the business community’s perspective on how to handle important issues. These informed recommendations are invaluable to us. That’s why I’m so happy with the hiring of Holly Sears as MBDC’s first president. MBDC is taking the next step in its evolution, and this is great news for the county’s continued economic development.

The County Council established the MBDC with the overall goal to promote practices that will help sustain current businesses and encourage new businesses to relocate to the County. From its origin, the quasi-public, nonprofit MBDC has sought to engage executive level business leaders to establish a vision for the County’s long-term economic future; to develop and articulate strategies to achieve that vision; to advocate for strategic changes in practices and policies; and to set performance metrics and report on their achievement.

Ms. Sears was appointed to help the organization work toward those goals. She previously served as the vice president of economic development for the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce. To learn more about Ms. Sears visit my blog.


 

Council to Host Budget Forum

Here's your chance to comment and ask questions on priorities relating to the Fiscal Year 2014 County operating budget planning process. Join us for a budget forum on Thursday, November 29, at 7:30 p.m. The 90-minute session will include a presentation on the challenges that the Council and County Executive will face in formulating a balanced budget for the fiscal year that will begin on July 1.

County departments are already working on early stages of the FY14 budget. The County Executive is required to present his recommended budget to the Council by March 15. The Council and its committees will analyze the recommendations, make adjustments and adopt the budget by late May.

Recent changes in State law regarding K-12 public education funding will significantly impact the FY14 budget process. The changes have added a layer of complexity to the County’s budget deliberations and fiscal outlook as the Maryland General Assembly recently amended the Maintenance of Effort law that governs local education funding and shifted a large portion of the cost of teacher pensions to the County.

The County’s Office of Legislative Oversight recently analyzed how continuing economic pressures and the recent changes in local school funding requirements would affect the Council’s budgeting and fiscal planning in FY14 and future years. The OLO will discuss this report at the forum.

We will hold the forum in the Third Floor Council Hearing Room of the Council Office Building at 100 Maryland Avenue in Rockville. County Cable Montgomery (channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, channel 30 on Verizon) will broadcast the forum live. You can also see it streamed through the County Web site.


 

Fast Fact

Opportunities for robberies, burglaries, and thefts from vehicles increase during the holiday season. Montgomery County Police will be working to deter holiday-related crime with the annual “Shop with a Cop” campaign. Officers will patrol retail areas to provide extra security and safety awareness, but you can also do your part to keep safe while shopping, walking or relaxing at home. Visit my blog for MCPD's full list of tips.


 

Green Tip of the Month

Our mailboxes get filled up with advertisements, sale flyers and catalogs during the holiday season. To reduce the amount of unwanted mail you receive, ask companies to remove you from their mailing lists; it may just take a phone call. You can also register for the “Do Not Mail” list with the County’s partner, Catalog Choice, or with the Direct Marketing Association.


 

Let's Talk

Is your community organization hosting a public meeting?  Please let me know how I can help. I am happy to assist residents in understanding pending bills or in finding ways to get involved in the political process. Even more important, I want to hear about what matters to you.  Send your meeting notices to councilmember.floreen@montgomerycountymd.gov or call 240-777-7959 if you would like me to address a particular topic with your group.