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October 2010

 

County's Economic Outlook Remains Flat - back to top

Floreen at deskAlthough experts have declared the recession over, economic indicators in Montgomery County (like other parts of the country) remain flat, according to Tuesday's briefing on our financial outlook.  Unemployment in the County is currently at 5.5 percent, well below the national average but above our November 2007 rate of 2.5 percent.

This, along with other indicators like home sales, inflation and the stock market, means governmental revenues will remain weak for the next fiscal year.  Right now, the County's major known commitments for FY12 are projected to increase by 4.3 percent.  However, the fiscal plan we approved in June permits growth in expenditures of only 0.1 percent.  In other words, there is a lot to think about as agencies, the County Executive and we at the County Council move through the budget this year.

It is still early in the process, and a lot can change.  We will get more accurate revenue numbers in November.  Then in December, we will get a report from the Office of Legislative Oversight on the County's structural deficit as well as recommendations from the Cross Agency Resource Sharing Committee.  In January, we will get the final report from the Organizational Reform Commission.  The County Executive will send us his proposed budget by March 15, and we will pass a final budget at the end of May.

Essentially, Montgomery County remains fiscally strong, and we will continue to provide the services that constituents expect, including top-notch education, public safety and programs for the most vulnerable.  But this is a new era, and we are going to have to be more disciplined for the foreseeable future.  Achieving that balance will be the topic of much discussion over the next eight months.


 

Montgomery Organizational Reform Commission to Hold Public Forum - back to top

Do you have a good idea on ways Montgomery County can consolidate or reorganize to improve efficiency? If so, let the Montgomery County Organizational Reform Commission know your thoughts on Wednesday, Oct. 20, at the group's public forum.

The eight-member commission, which was appointed by the Montgomery County Council and the County Executive this July, is composed of County residents who are experienced in government, business and non-profit service delivery. The volunteer commission, which is scheduled to provide recommendations to the Council and the Executive by Jan. 31, has been gathering information in its initial phase of work.

The commission will ask residents to help fulfill its mission by holding a public forum at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 20, in the Third Floor Hearing Room of Council Office Building at 100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville. You can sign up in advance to speak by calling 240-777-7814 or 240-777-7938. If time allows, speakers who do not sign up in advance will also be able to offer suggestions. The committee said that items in writing will be most helpful.


 

Avoid Lines on Election Day--Vote Early - back to top

voting machineFor the first time ever, the State of Maryland is implementing Early Voting for the Gubernatorial General Election.  Montgomery County will open five Early Voting Centers October 22-28 (excluding Sunday) from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Early Voting Centers:

  • Bauer Drive Community Recreation Center
    14625 Bauer Drive, Rockville
  • Germantown Recreation Center
    18905 Kingsview Road, Germantown
  • Marilyn J. Praisner Community Recreation Center
    14906 Old Columbia Pike, Burtonsville
  • Montgomery County Executive Office Building
    101 Monroe Street, Rockville
  • Silver Spring Civic Building
    8525 Fenton Street, Silver Spring

For more information, call 240-777-VOTE or visit the Board of Elections Web site.  The general election will be held on November 2.


 

Fast Fact - back to top

According to our County Health Officer, the state has had two confirmed cases of West Nile virus, including one in Montgomery County.  You can protect yourself against West Nile virus by taking basic steps:

  • Eliminate standing water where mosquitoes breed. Discard used tires, clean roof gutters and down spouts, turn over plastic wading pools, wheelbarrows and trash can lids, flush birdbaths and the bottom of potted plant holder trays twice a week. 
  • Avoid areas of high mosquito infestation.
  • Use a mosquito repellant. Spray it on clothes before putting them on.
  • Avoid unnecessary outdoor activities at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
    Wear light clothing, long pants, long-sleeved shirts and hats when outdoors.

Symptoms of West Nile virus may include fever, headache, body aches, skin rash and swollen lymph glands.  These symptoms generally appear three to 15 days following the bite of an infected mosquito.  Most people infected with West Nile virus will not develop any symptoms but in rare cases, West Nile virus can be fatal.
           


 

Green Tip of the Month - back to top

Montgomery County saved $2 million and 3,000 trees last year through its initiative to reduce paper purchases and printing. That's a 20 percent reduction in overall County paper purchases, and a $2.09 million savings in printing and mail expenditures.  The initial goal of the paper and printing reduction effort was to reduce paper use 15 percent in a year and save the County approximately $1 million. County departments not only met the goal but exceeded it.

The environmental impacts of the past year's printing and paper reductions are: net energy savings of 3,811 BTUs (enough to power 42 homes per year); a reduction in greenhouse gases of 738,842 pounds of carbon dioxide (equivalent to 67 cars per year); a reduction in wastewater by 2,757,366 gallons (four Olympic size swimming pools); and a reduction in solid waste by 240,784 pounds (equivalent to nine garbage trucks).


 

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.