Montgomery County Council Meets This Morning to Review Legislation Establishing Police Accountability Board, I-270 Corridor Forward Plan, Introduce a Special Appropriation to Fund Mobile Medical Clinic for Children

Per Montgomery County:

For Immediate Release: Monday, March 21, 2022

Also on March 22: Public hearing and vote on a special appropriation for the expansion of sports leagues for girls and vote on legislation to amend the prevailing wage threshold for county-financed construction contracts

The Council meeting schedule may change from time to time. The current Council and Committee agendas, Council staff reports and additional information on items scheduled for Council review can be viewed at: http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/COUNCIL/ondemand/index.html.

The Council returned to in-person meetings on March 15; residents continue to have the opportunity to testify remotely for public hearings or provide in-person testimony at the Council Office Building in Rockville for many public hearings.

The Council is recommending that residents, who choose to attend in-person Council meetings, get fully vaccinated to protect themselves and others against COVID-19. If this is not possible, virtual participation is encouraged.

Council and committee meetings are streamed live on the Council’s web page via YouTube and on Facebook Live and can be watched on County Cable Montgomery on Xfinity/RCN 6 HD 996/1056, Fios 30, and on the CCM live stream.

The Council will meet on Tuesday, March 22 at 9 a.m. The meeting will begin with three proclamations. The first, presented by Councilmembers Rice, Navarro, and Friedson, will recognize National Agriculture Day. The second, presented by Councilmember Riemer, will recognize United Therapeutics for their conversion to a public benefit corporation. The third, presented by Council President Albornoz and the full Council, will recognize Joan Kleinman for her years of service to our County, state, and nation.

More detail on each agenda item is provided below.

Expedited Bill 49-21, Police – Police Accountability Board – Administrative Charging Committee – Established

Review: The Council will continue its review of Expedited Bill 49-21, Police – Police Accountability Board – Administrative Charging Committee – Established, which would establish a Police Accountability Board (PAB) and Administrative Charging Committee (ACC) for the County. The goal of the bill is to help improve police accountability.

The Public Safety (PS) Committee held three meetings to review and amend the bill. The proposed amendments would increase the PAB membership to nine voting members with at least one member residing in a municipality covered by the PAB and permit the Executive to appoint one or more non-voting members, clarify that all complaints from the public must be investigated and reported to the ACC, require funding for training of PAB and ACC members from the police and outside organizations and authorize the Council to remove a member for failure to complete required training.

The Council approved each of these PS Committee amendments at its first meeting to review Expedited Bill 49-21. In addition, the Council removed reference to a violation of law, as one of the reasons for removal of a member. The Council also approved an amendment that replaces general language indicating that professional experience is required, with more detailed language requiring that the individual be able to demonstrate through professional or lived experience the ability to balance effective oversight, perform objective analysis of an investigation report and practice procedural fairness.

In addition, the Council approved two additional amendments. The first removes the prohibition on compensation for PAB members to permit the Council to provide for compensation in the budget. The second, adds a requirement for full-time dedicated staff for both the PAB and the ACC and require the County Attorney to retain special legal counsel to provide legal support for both the PAB and the ACC.

The Maryland General Assembly enacted a series of laws establishing uniform standards for police department operations throughout the state. One of these laws, House Bill (HB) 670, created a new uniform procedure for police accountability and discipline. This new law requires the governing body of each county to establish a PAB and an ACC to handle complaints of police misconduct from residents. HB 670 also gives the County PAB and the County ACC jurisdiction over police misconduct complaints against municipal police departments located in the County.

The lead sponsor of Bill 49-21 is the Council President, at the request of the County Executive.

I-270 Corridor Forward Plan

Review: The Council will review the Planning Board draft of the Corridor Forward: The I-270 Transit Plan. The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) has committed $360 million of funds in support of one or more new transit lines in the I-270 Corridor and the Council’s decision on the plan will inform the decision as to how the $360 million will be used. The T&E Committee met on Feb. 28 to and on March 9 to review the plan and formulate its recommendations to the Council.

Those expected to attend and provide information include Casey Anderson, chair, Planning Board; Gwen Wright, Director, Planning Department; Carrie Sanders, chief, Midcounty Planning, Planning Department; Jason Sartori, chief, Countywide Planning, Planning Department; Jessica McVary, master planner and supervisor, Midcounty Planning; Jesse Cohn McGowan, project manager, Countywide Planning; Christopher Conklin, director, Department of Transportation (DOT); Hannah Henn, deputy director for Transportation Policy, DOT; Andrew Bossi, Director’s Office, DOT; Jonathan Parker, planning program manager, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA); Joana Conklin, RTS development manager, Department of General Services (DGS); and Corey Pitts, planning section manager, DOT.

Resolution to Set FY23 Transportation Fees, Charges and Fares

Introduction: The Council will introduce a resolution to set the FY23 transportation fees, charges and fares. The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (DOT) conducted a Fare Equity Study for Ride On. Based on information from this study, the County Executive is recommending reintroducing the basic Ride On fare at one dollar, which is half the pre-pandemic fare. Express routes that charged $4.25 before the fare holiday would also have their fares reduced to one dollar. The monthly pass charge would be reduced from $45 to $22.50. If approved, the new fare structure would go into effect in July 2022, when the fare holiday is set to expire.

Supplemental Appropriation to the FY21 Capital Budget and Amendment to the FY21-26 Capital Improvements Program, Montgomery County Government, Department of Transportation: Bridge Renovation – $3,500,000

Introduction: The Council will introduce a $3.5 million supplemental appropriation for bridge renovations. This increase is requested to address deterioration in the existing culvert located on Amaranth Drive near Middlebrook Road west of I-270, which was discovered during a regular inspection.

The lead sponsor is the Council President, at the request of the County Executive. A public hearing and vote are tentatively scheduled for April 19.

Amendment to the FY21-26 Capital Improvements Program (CIP) and Supplemental Appropriation #22- 74 to the FY22 Capital Budget Montgomery County Government – Department of Housing and Community Affairs – Preservation of Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing Fund (No. 762201), $40,000,000

Introduction: The Council will introduce a $40 million amendment to the FY21-26 Capital Improvements Program (CIP) and supplemental appropriation for the Department of Housing and Community Affairs (DHCA) to establish a new fund in the CIP to support acquisitions and preservation of current naturally occurring affordable housing (NOAH).

This project provides funding to preserve current NOAHs in areas at risk of rent escalation to higher market rents, including the Purple Line Corridor and other County transit corridors. The fund will be used to provide capital to support acquisitions and preservation to ensure continued affordability of currently naturally occurring affordable housing. Price pressures in housing, particularly housing near transit corridors, have increased and will likely continue to increase due to housing demand.

The lead sponsor is the Council President, at the request of the County Executive. A public hearing is tentatively scheduled for April 19.

Amendment to the FY21-26 Capital Improvements Program and Supplemental Appropriation to the FY22 Capital Budget, Montgomery County Government, Department of Environmental Protection – $1,300,000 for Flood Control Study

Introduction: The Council will introduce a $1.3 million amendment to the FY21-26 CIP and supplemental appropriation for the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to fund a new flood control study project. This study will provide for the development of a comprehensive flood management strategy and watershed by watershed plans to build resiliency and improve public safety. The study is is needed because flooding in the County is expected to increase in the future due to the effects of climate change.

Supplemental Appropriation to the FY22 Capital Budget, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), Relocatable Classrooms (No. 846540), $5,000,000

Introduction: The Council will introduce a $5 million supplemental appropriation for Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) to lease, purchase, move and rehabilitate relocatable classrooms that are needed for the 2022-23 school year.

The lead sponsor is the Council President, at the request of the County Executive. A public hearing is tentatively scheduled for April 19.

Special Appropriation to the Fiscal Year 2022 Operating Budget; Montgomery County Government; Department of Health and Human Services; Pediatric Mobile Medical Vehicle; $450,000 and Amendment to Fiscal Year 2022 Operating Budget Resolution 19- 872, Section G, Fiscal Year 2022 Designation of Entities for non-Competitive Contract Award Status: Casa Ruben, Inc.

Introduction: Lead sponsors Council President Albornoz and Councilmember Friedson will introduce a $450,000 special appropriation to the FY22 Operating Budget and an amendment to FY22 Operating Budget, which would fund a mobile medical clinic through the creation of a public-private partnership between Casa Ruben, Inc., the Robert I. Schattner Foundation and Montgomery County. Councilmembers Katz and Navarro are cosponsors.

The mobile medical clinic would connect uninsured, under-insured and under-resourced children and youth to healthcare and increase the number of children and youth who receive vaccinations needed for overall health and to enroll in school. The County will fund the purchase of the mobile medical clinic and the Schattner Foundation will provide matching funds of up to $450,000 directly to Casa Ruben, Inc. for staffing and operating expenses. Casa Ruben, Inc. and the Department of Health and Human Services would collaborate on connecting children and families to health care.

The County has invested in efforts to address health disparities, eliminate barriers to healthcare access and reach residents in their communities in innovative ways. Mobile medical care has been shown to be a cost-effective way to reach underserved and disenfranchised communities that do not have access to mainstream healthcare.

A public hearing is tentatively scheduled for March 29.

FY23 Water Quality Protection Charge Rate Resolution

Introduction: The Council will introduce a resolution to approve the FY23 Water Quality Protection Charge equivalent residential unit (ERU) rate for FY23. The County Executive recommends an ERU rate of $119.50, which is an increase of $6 or 5.3 percent from the FY22 approved rate of $113.50. This proposed resolution is consistent with the County Executive’s FY23 Recommended Operating Budget.

The Council first created the Water Quality Protection Charge as part of Bill 28-00 in 2001 and made substantive changes to the charge in 2013 as part of Bill 34-12. The Council is required under County Code Section 19-35(c) to set the ERU rate each fiscal year by resolution. The resolution must be adopted no later than the date the Council approves the annual operating budget.

The lead sponsor is the Council President, at the request of the County Executive. A public hearing is tentatively scheduled for April 19.

FY23 Solid Waste Service Charges

Introduction: The Council will introduce a resolution to approve FY23 solid waste charges. The County Executive’s recommended charges vary depending on the services provided. For single-family residential property owners, the charges will increase between 12.8 and 20.2 percent. Multi-family property owners will see increases ranging from two to 3.1 percent. Non-residential customers will see increases of 3.1 percent. Tipping fees charged at the Shady Grove Transfer Station are recommended to remain unchanged from FY22 levels with the exception of a new $70 per ton fee for concrete and dirt rubble material that is delivered for disposal.

The lead sponsor is the Council President, at the request of the County Executive. A public hearing is tentatively scheduled for April 19.

Resolution to Set FY23 Property Tax Credit for Income Tax Offset

Introduction: The Council will introduce a resolution to set the FY23 Property Tax Credit for Income Tax Offset. Each year the Council may set a property tax credit to offset a portion of the income tax revenue resulting from a County income tax rate that is greater than 2.6 percent. This credit is automatically provided to each property that is an owner-occupied dwelling of a homeowner. The County Executive recommended an FY23 property tax credit of $692 per eligible property in the recommended FY23 Operating Budget, which is equal to the FY22 credit.

A public hearing is tentatively scheduled for April 19.

Authorization to File Application for FY 2023 Annual Transportation Plan Grant

Introduction: The Council will introduce a resolution to authorize the filing of the annual Transportation Plan grant application for FY23. On an annual basis, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (DOT) submits the Annual Transportation Plan grant application to the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) to fund Section 5307 Capital and Operating Assistance, Section 5309 (federal) Capital Assistance, Section 5311 Operating Assistance (rural routes 76 and 90), Statewide Special Transportation Assistance Program (Call-n-Ride Program) and Large Urban Operating Assistance Program.

Appointments to the Policing Advisory Commission

Vote expected: The Council is expected to vote to fill one vacancy on the Policing Advisory Commission, which consists of 13 public members who have an interest or expertise in policing matters and reflect the diversity of Montgomery County. The Policing Advisory Commission deliberates on policy issues, using data and focuses on best practices. On March 8, the Council conducted interview with applicants.

Nine Policing Advisory Commission members are appointed by the Council and four members are appointed by the County Executive, with two of the Executive’s appointments being youth members. The police chief, or a designee, and the president of the Fraternal Order of Police, or a designee, serve as ex‐officio members.

Resolution to Renew Contract for Audit Services

Vote expected: The Council will introduce a resolution to renew contract for audit services. On March 10, 2022, the Audit Committee reviewed a draft contract amendment to renew audit services with SB & Company. The contract would require SB & Company to complete work for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2022 and the calendar year ending December 31, 2022. The Audit Committee recommends approval.

The County Charter and County Code require the Council to contract with a certified public accounting firm to conduct annual audits of the County Government, the Employee Retirement Plans, the Consolidated Retiree Health Benefits Trust, and the Montgomery County Union Employees Deferred Compensation Plan.

Resolution to Affirm Montgomery County’s Support of Public Health Officials

Vote expected: The Council is expected to vote on a resolution to affirm Montgomery County’s support of public health officials. State and local public health officers and other public health officials have endured harassment, insults and threats during the COVID-19 pandemic which has led to record numbers of public health officials, resigning, retiring or being fired. This treatment has also resulted in hesitation among individuals seeking to serve in these positions. This resolution would voice the support of Montgomery County for public health officials and health decisions based on science and data.

Council Vice President Glass is the lead sponsor. All other Councilmembers are cosponsors.

Supplemental Appropriation to the County Government’s FY22 Capital Budget and Amendment to the FY21-26 Capital Improvements Program (CIP) – $602,651 for Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Planned Life Cycle Asset Replacement

Vote expected: The Council will vote on a $602,651 FY22 Capital Budget supplemental appropriation and an amendment to the FY21-26 Capital Improvement Programs for Montgomery County Public Schools, which will fund eligible projects through the Aging Schools Program. The Board of Education’s request for the appropriation is a result of the Interagency Commission on School Construction’s $602,651 award for Montgomery County Public Schools.

Special Appropriations to Expand High School Wellness Centers

Introductions: Expanding the services currently offered by the High School Wellness Centers to all high schools has increasingly been a focus and priority in discussions around increasing mental health supports for students to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Council will introduce a package of three special appropriations to implement the initial phase of the expansion initiative, intended to focus on providing mental health and positive youth development services in high schools that do not currently have a wellness center.

In early 2022, Councilmember Navarro shared a formal proposal to expand wellness centers to all high schools, identifying the urgency and importance of providing warm and welcoming spaces that address the unique needs of students in a holistic and culturally proficient way. On March 7, 2022, Councilmember Navarro sent a memorandum to Council President Albornoz and Education and Culture Committee Chair Rice detailing a proposal to implement wellness centers at all high schools.

On March 8, the Board of Education requested $3 million funding in the FY22 Capital Budget and an amendment to the FY21-26 Capital Improvements Program for relocatable classrooms to implement Councilmember Navarro’s expansion proposal. MCPS’ request would appropriate this $3 million in FY22 to allow MCPS to move forward with contractual work this spring, so that the relocatable classrooms can be ready by the start of the 2022-23 school year.

On March 17, 2022, the joint HHS and E&C Committee met on this topic and voted unanimously (4-0, Councilmember Jawando absent) to move forward this package of three special appropriations. Together these actions will provide funding to begin implementation of mental health, positive youth development, referral and other support services to students in high schools that do not currently have a wellness center.

There are currently five High School Wellness Centers located at Northwood, Gaithersburg, Watkins Mill, Wheaton and Seneca Valley High Schools. A sixth wellness center is under construction at Kennedy High School. Mental health and positive youth development services are offered to all students in the school.

The special appropriations which will be introduced include:

Special Appropriation to the FY22 Capital Budget and Amendment to the FY21-26 Capital Improvements Program, Montgomery County Public Schools – $3,000,000 for Relocatable Classrooms

The Council will introduce a $3 million special appropriation to the FY22 Capital Budget and amendment to the FY 21-26 CIP for relocatable classrooms.

Special Appropriation to the FY22 Capital Budget and Amendment to the FY21-26 Capital Improvements Program, Montgomery County Government, $2,000,000 for High School Wellness Centers

The Council will introduce a $2 million special appropriation to the FY22 Capital Budget and amendment to the FY 21-26 CIP for High School Wellness Centers and Expanded Wellness Services.

Special Appropriation to the FY22 Operating Budget, Montgomery County Government, Department of Health and Human Services, $3,000,000 to Implement Mental Health and Positive Youth Development Services in Montgomery County Public Schools

The Council will introduce $3 million special appropriation to the FY22 Operating Budget to implement mental health and positive youth development services in MCPS High Schools that do not currently have a wellness center.

A public hearing and vote are tentatively scheduled for these three special appropriations on April 19.

Special Appropriation to the County Government’s FY22 Operating Budget, Department of Health and Human Services – $2,539,747 for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Crisis Cooperative Agreement, COVID-19 Public Health Workforce Supplemental Funding Grant

Public Hearing: The Council will hold a public hearing on a more than $2.5 million special appropriation for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Crisis Cooperative Agreement, COVID-19 Public Health Workforce Supplemental Funding Grant. The funding will support school-based health programs and support hiring school nurses, clinical staff, disease control investigation staff and administrative support.

The lead sponsor is the Council President, at the request of the County Executive. The staff report will be available Tuesday.

Special Appropriation to the FY22 Operating Budget, Montgomery County Government, Incubator Programs Non-Departmental Account, $789,000

Public hearing: The Council will hold a public hearing on a $780,000 special appropriation to fund initiatives to support minority, female and disabled-owned (MFD) businesses. The funds will improve and expand seven small business programs that address the needs of the diverse group of businesses owners located in Montgomery County. The lead sponsors are Councilmembers Riemer and Jawando. Councilmember Friedson is a cosponsor.

The initiatives that will be funded through this appropriation include the following:

$200,000 for the County to initiate a Center for MFD Entrepreneurship in the Silver Spring Innovation Center;
up to $100,000 for a contract with the Maryland Black Chamber of Commerce for its Leadership Academy and a Small Business Lending Feasibility Study;
up to $31,000 for a contract with the Black Business Council for its Black Business Database; up to $175,000 for a contract with the Maryland Small Business Development Center (SBDC);
up to $50,000 for a contract with the Maryland Procurement and Technical Assistance Center to provide small businesses with assistance in obtaining federal, state and Montgomery County procurement prime and subcontracts;
up to $60,000 for a contract with Nonprofit Village to provide for support and training for nonprofits founded and operated by Black executives; and
up to $173,000 for a contract with the Black Collective for leadership and stakeholder engagement, community engagement forums, Black business training and technical assistance, a community online information portal and a community engagement assessment and environmental scan.

Supplemental Appropriation to the County Government’s FY22 Capital Budget and Amendment to the FY21-26 Capital Improvements Program, DHHS – $1,082,000 for Martha B. Gudelsky Child Development Center Sewer Improvements

Public hearing and vote: The Council will hold a public hearing and vote on a more than $1 million supplemental appropriation to the FY22 Capital Budget and an amendment to the FY21-26 CIP, which will provide funds for the design and construction of sewer improvements for County-owned property that will be used for the future Martha B. Gudelsky Child Development Center. The project will be undertaken by WSSC. The T&E Committee recommends approval.

The lead sponsor is the Council President, at the request of the County Executive. The T&E committee recommends approval.

Greg Ossont, deputy director, Department of General Services (DGS) is expected to attend and provide information.

Special Appropriation to the County Government’s FY22 Operating Budget, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) – $2,109,404 for COVID Mass Vaccination CARES Grant

Public hearing and vote: The Council is expected to hold a public hearing and vote on a more than $2.1 million special appropriation to the County Government’s FY22 Operating Budget for the Department of Health and Human Services’ COVID Mass Vaccination CARES Grant. The grant is awarded to the County by the Maryland Department of Health’s Prevention and Health Promotion Administration.

Montgomery County continues to support the vaccination of County residents against COVID-19 through clinics and special health initiatives. Ongoing funding is needed to continue to expand existing infrastructure and efforts to increase vaccinations, reduce hesitancy and reach minority residents with culturally and linguistically appropriate services to reduce disparities.

The lead sponsor is the Council President, at the request of the County Executive.

Special Appropriation to the County Government’s FY22 Operating Budget, Department of Recreation – $100,000 for Expansion of Sports Leagues for Girls

Public hearing and vote: The Council will hold a public hearing and vote on a $100,000 special appropriation for the expansion of sports leagues for girls in Montgomery County. The lead sponsors are Councilmember Riemer and Council President Albornoz. Councilmembers Friedson, Katz and Navarro are cosponsors.

The appropriation would expand affordable, accessible recreational sports programming tailored to the interests of girls at all levels to increase their participation in sports and reduce the drop-off in participation as they enter middle school and high school. This appropriation would fund the Department of Recreation to engage elementary and middle school girls in volleyball, softball and lacrosse introductory activities, instructional skills classes and clinics, with the goal of establishing County-wide recreational leagues for these sports in FY23. Funding will also support expansion of the Soccer-4-Change girls’ program.

There are significant gender disparities which persist in local sports programs, with girls and women accessing fewer participation opportunities than boys and men. Gender disparities in sports participation begin when children are young and widen as they reach middle school, and more dramatically during high school. Because of these disparities, many girls are not able to benefit from the improved health, social and life outcomes associated with sports participation. In addition, access to sports programming has also been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recent analysis, conducted by the County’s Office of Legislative Oversight on youth sports participation in Montgomery County and gender equity in local sports programs, confirmed the numerous benefits of sports participation for children and youth in social and emotional development and overall health and wellness. The analysis also found that there is a wide discrepancy in sports participation in the County. The reports identified barriers to access that relate to social and economic factors in addition to sexual orientation and gender identity.

FY23-28 Capital Improvements Program (CIP) Transportation

Review: The Council will review the recommended FY23-28 CIP for the Department of Transportation (DOT). The discussion will include an overview of the transportation capital program, and a review of bridge, highway maintenance, road, traffic engineering, mass transit, pedestrian facilities and bikeways and facility planning projects. Parking Lot District (PLD) projects will be reviewed in April with the PLD operating budgets.

Those expected to attend and provide information include Chris Conklin, director, Department of Transportation (DOT); Emil Wolanin, deputy director, DOT; Hannah Henn, deputy director, DOT; Tim Cupples, chief, Division of Transportation Engineering, DOT; Richard Dorsey, chief, Division of Highway Services, DOT; Dan Hibbert, chief, Division of Transit Services, DOT; Michael Paylor, chief, Division of Traffic Engineering and Operations, DOT; Brady Goldsmith, chief, Management Services, DOT; Joana Conklin, RTS development manager, Department of General Services; Corey Pitts, planning section manager, DOT; Anita Aryeetey, OMB; and Gary Nalven (OMB).

Bill 35-21, Prevailing Wage Requirements – Construction Contracts – Amendments

Vote expected: The Council is expected to vote on Bill 35-21, Prevailing Wage Requirements – Construction Contracts – Amendments, which would amend definitions related to construction and the prevailing wage threshold. The lead sponsors of the bill are Councilmembers Hucker and Jawando. Council President Albornoz and Vice President Glass and Councilmembers Rice, Katz, Riemer and Navarro are cosponsors. The Government Operation and Fiscal Policy (GO) Committee recommends enactment with amendments.

Prevailing wage laws require that wages for County funded construction projects be calculated to reflect local wages for similar jobs. The purpose of Bill 35-21 is to expand the applicability of the County’s prevailing wage law to include a County financed construction contract starting with a value of $250,000. This change would align the County with recently passed state prevailing wage law regarding the contract threshold limit. In addition, the bill would apply prevailing wage requirements to certain public-private partnerships, require construction contracts to include a local hiring requirement and specify violations of the local hiring mandate.

Those expected to attend and provide information include Ash Shetty, director, Office of Procurement; Grace Denno, manager, Office of Procurement; Megan Greene, associate, Office of the County Attorney; Aseem Nigam, director, Department of Housing and Community Affairs (DHCA); Frank Demarais, deputy director, DHCA; and Nancy Feldman, Fiscal Manager, Department of Finance.

Proposed Closed Session

The Council is expected to hold a closed session to discuss appointment, employment, assignment, promotion, discipline, demotion, compensation, removal, resignation, or performance evaluation of appointees, employees, or officials over whom it has jurisdiction, pursuant to Maryland Code, State Government Article, §3-305(b) (1)(i). The topic is Legislative Branch staffing.

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