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January 2010

 

My Top Ten for 2009 - back to top

nancy floreen and valerie ervinIt has been a challenging year in many ways but a rewarding one too.  Here are the top ten things that made me smile in 2009:

  • Serving as honorary co-chair of Habitat for Humanity's Women Build Committee.

  • Purchasing 52.9 acres of land as an addition to the Fairland Recreational Park, thereby providing relief to those residents most impacted by the construction of the Intercounty Connector.

  • Appearing on the History Channel's documentary, The Crumbling of America, to discuss infrastructure challenges, including the water main break on River Road that led to stranded motorists being rescued by helicopter and swift water boats.

  • Saving 18 Ride On bus routes that were targeted for elimination or reduced service.

  • Sponsoring the Resolution to restrict the use of brick pavers, cobblestones and stamped concrete on public walkways, thereby making sure our public spaces are accessible to everyone, including those with limited mobility.

  • Joining President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood for the unveiling of the President's new strategic plan for an effective network of high-speed passenger trains.

  • Sponsoring the Job Search Workshop and Information Fair with Congressman Chris Van Hollen to help get Montgomery County residents back to work.

  • Sponsoring the Office of Legislative Oversight's analysis of the costs and timetables for constructing transportation projects.

  • Co-sponsoring the Bill that will extend benefits to same-sex domestic partners of County contractors and subcontractors, thereby extending the County's practice of providing equal benefits to same-sex partners of County employees.

  • Taking office as Council President, along with Valerie Ervin as Vice-President, giving the Council two female officers for the first time in 15 years.

 

Seeking a New Planning Board Chair - back to top

We're looking for a new chair of the Mongomery County Planning Board to take office after the current chair Royce Hanson's term expires on June 14.  This is a very important position because the Planning Board serves as the Council's principal adviser on land use planning and community planning.

The Board has a broad range of responsibilities, including Master Plans, subdivision regulations and the County Zoning Ordinance.  The board also reviews and approves all preliminary plans, site plans and other plans for new development.

The deadline to apply is March 8.  The deadline for the previously announced vacancy created by the passing of board member, Jean Cryor, is January 13.


 

Green Building Certification Program Launched - back to top

I brought the idea of a Green Business Certification Program to the County Executive nearly two years ago because I wanted to harness the strength of our consumers and businesses to create a more environmentally responsive community.  I'm proud that the program-- collaboration between the County, the County Chamber of Commerce and Montgomery College--s now off the ground with the first 11 businesses and organizations certified.

To be certified as a green business, a company must demonstrate its commitment to environmental stewardship, conservation of energy and water, carbon footprint reduction and waste reduction and recycling.  Once certified, businesses are listed in the County's online Green Business Directory, receive a certificate and window decal, and have use of the program logo.

We at the County Council are working on our application for certification now.  We're finding the program to be tough but achievable, and the online resource guide that comes with the application has been a great help.

It can be challenging to run a business in Montgomery County because of regulations, taxes and high rents, so I'm really glad that we're recognizing the businesses that take the extra step, even in these challenging times, to safeguard the environment.  Our companies that have long been known as the gold standard now will be recognized for their green standard as well.


 

Green Tip of the Month - back to top

If you want help applying for the Green Business Certification Program, check out  Montgomery College's on-going online and in person training classes to help you green your business and get certified.  Classes include: Crash Course on How to Become a Green Certified Business; The Business Case for Greening Your Operations; and Leading Environmental Change within Your Organization.


 

Fast Fact - back to top

The U.S. Census Bureau opened a new office in Rockville to support all field operations in Montgomery County for the 2010 Census Survey.  That's great news because it brings about 1,000 jobs (apply now) to Montgomery County.  Plus, an accurate Census count will help Montgomery County well into the future because Census data determines how more than $400 billion is allocated each year to local and state governments. The money is used for schools, roads, hospitals, senior centers and other social services in the community.


 

Let's Talk - back to top

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.