Weekly Message From the County Executive: Much Appreciation for Those Who Worked Tirelessly to Clean Up After Storm

Per Montgomery County:

Hello Friends,

Young adults do not always see what is possible. They often do not dream about careers until they see a path toward achieving those goals. Summer internships and fellowships give students a chance to learn by doing. I know that kind of experience is invaluable, and I am glad that our government, along with businesses across the County have hosted and welcomed student interns, fellows and seasonal employees this summer.

In the Office of County Executive, we hosted 12 college and high school students. Some of them are working on projects helping us gauge the effectiveness of policies we have put in place. Others are researching issues and they’re all having a chance to glimpse the day-to-day operations of the County Executive Office.

Several of these students were part of Montgomery County Public School’s Summer RISE program. This is a great effort from our school system to provide MCPS students exposure, experience, and the chance to network in various professions that they may be interested in. More than 900 students showed up for the closing ceremony and even more participated in the Summer RISE program and I enjoyed the opportunity to address them at their closing ceremony last week.

Two of our summer high school interns interviewed me. You can watch those conversations in this week’s newsletter or on the Montgomery County YouTube page. You can watch the two interviews conducted with Sara Zemikiel of Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School and Ava Bedaque of Montgomery Blair High School after they observed us for a few weeks.

You can also find the interviews on the Montgomery County YouTube page.

I encourage everyone and every business and organization to continue to provide internships and jobs to our young people. Your engagement could change their lives forever. Please check out the following youth opportunities and enrichment websites for more information:

Severe Summer Storms Hit Montgomery County 

We dealt with extreme heat and severe thunderstorms last weekend that impacted many families and neighborhoods across Montgomery County. The picture below is from Glen Echo Park where trees were uprooted and structures, like this pavilion, were damaged.

These were some of the most widespread and devastating storms that we have seen hit our County in quite a while. We had several thousand residents without power for over two days.

Montgomery County Government employees worked diligently to assist people recovering from the weekend’s storms. We provided regular alerts and updates on social media and other platforms and steered them towards help. We assisted those in need to find shelter, rescued boaters during the thunderstorms, removed trees and debris from streets and sidewalks, distributed water on Ride On buses and directed traffic when lights were out.

The 911 call center reported 1,300 calls in the first two hours of the storm on Friday and by Monday the County’s Department of Transportation had removed more than 160 fallen trees.

I want to thank our County first responders, as well as those working for the State, Pepco, Washington Gas and WSSC Water, for their response to these storms. Pepco reported more than 1,300 line workers, mutual assistance crews, contractors, support personnel and customer representatives were used around the clock following the storm.

I also want to thank the County’s Department of Health and Human Services which worked with the Medical Reserve Corps and Red Cross of the National Capital and Greater Chesapeake Region to set up temporary shelter for victims of the storm. These efforts made a difficult weekend much better for so many people.

Be ready for the next storm by signing up for Alert Montgomery. It will help keep you up to date with weather alerts, infrastructure issues and severe traffic issues.

New Climate Adaption Program Manager Helps Mitigate Community Risks

More frequent, severe and extreme weather is going to be our new normal. We are working to slow the rate of climate change, and we know we have to work on resiliency and be better prepared to withstand its impacts. That is why we developed a new position in Montgomery County: the Climate Adaptation Program Manager. Mara Parker is the first person to fill the role. Mara works in our Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security. She manages the development of climate adaptation and resiliency programs to help mitigate the impacts of climate change and promotes emergency preparedness in the face of climate-related hazards, with a particular emphasis on communities at highest risk. On my media briefing this week she said one purpose of her office is to develop safe spaces during storms and other emergencies.

Mara works in partnership with community partners to develop resiliency hubs, address urban heat island effect and flooding, conduct climate change-related community outreach and position the County and community to maximize grant funding opportunities related to climate change.

I am glad she is on our team to help us enact our Climate Action Plan. I see the positive impacts of being fully prepared for weather anomalies paying off for our County and I believe we will continue to lead the way on climate-friendly initiatives.

National Night Out

On Tuesday, our community celebrated the 40th anniversary of National Night Out. This annual event was an opportunity for neighborhoods to get to know the police officers, firefighters and other first responders that serve their community.

I was able to visit activities in White Oak, Olney, Mt Calvary in the Lincoln Park section of Rockville, Aspen Hill and at Flora Singer Elementary School. You can see photos from my trip around the County here. It was great to see old friends and talk with residents about so many different issues.

One thing I noticed throughout the County was the attempt by police to get more people to join the 911 command center. These are good paying jobs and recommended for people who handle stress well and are computer literate. If you are interested or want to pass along the information to someone you think would be a good fit, go to WORK4MCG in any Internet search engine or find Montgomery County Government on LinkedIn.

National Night Out events are a good reminder that an important way to keep our communities safe is having engaged neighbors and positive relationships and interactions with our first responders.

Visit Montgomery Travel Conference

Visit Montgomery this week hosted the Mid-Atlantic Tourism Public Relations Alliance. It is a collection of regional tourism partners that includes Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, the District of Columbia and West Virginia. The group was comprised of 60 tourism representatives and approximately 50 journalists from the organization.

They participated in a variety of events, activities, and familiarization tours throughout the county. This is the largest media event Visit Montgomery has ever held.

I attended a welcome dinner for this group at the Comus Inn. For years, I have known that the Comus Inn was a nice restaurant, but I was not aware that the restaurant is now home to world renown chef, Sammy Demarco. Originally from New York City, Chef Demarco’s career has taken his culinary skills all over the world to places like Australia, Canada, Dubai, Thailand and, most recently, with restaurants in The Bellagio in Las Vegas and The Kimpton Hotel in Amsterdam.

Visit Montgomery also took the group to our new Crossvines grape-crush facility and events venue in Poolesville and hosted meetings and a trade show at Pike and Rose in North Bethesda.

We have a great tourism story to tell and now that the travel industry has rebounded back to pre-pandemic levels, we need to take advantage of more people looking to travel again. Montgomery County is already one of the most visited counties in Maryland with 6.8 million day and overnight visitors, generating $1.4 billion to the economy. The industry is tied to 20,000 jobs that represent 4.4 percent of our workforce.

As I expressed to our tourism industry visitors, we know hospitality well because it one our top industries. We are home to Marriott International, Choice Hotels, Sodexo and Host Hotels & Resorts.

What makes us unique is the variety of cultures from every part of the world. We are one of the most diverse and inclusionary jurisdictions in the nation, if not the world. We are diverse in many ways—from urban to suburban to rural. And numerous ethnicities, races and religions are represented through cuisines, events and attractions.

I appreciate the Mid-Atlantic Tourism Public Relations Alliance for participating in this tour. We showed that Montgomery County is changing as a tourism destination for food and wine coinsures.

I want to thank Kelly Groff, the president and CEO of Visit Montgomery, and her team for organizing this event and proactively working with those who will increase awareness, draw visitors and create more revenues for our businesses and our economy.

CLIMATE MESSAGE OF THE WEEK: It Is a Great Time to Get an Electric Vehicle

Each week, I am highlighting one initiative in our wide-ranging efforts to combat climate change. This week, wanted to update you on efforts to expand our adaptation of electric vehicles or EVs.

I drive an EV and I am proud of the way our state and County have committed to getting more electric vehicles on the road. Even though Montgomery County represents one-sixth of Maryland’s population, one-third of registered plug-in vehicles in the State are located here.

One thing we have done in Montgomery County is develop the EV Purchasing Co-op. It brings together participating local dealerships that have pledged to honor incentives geared specifically toward Montgomery residents. The savings could be applied to purchases or leases of new or pre-owned electric vehicles.

New State programs began last month. Here are two State incentives available:

  • The Excise tax credit for plug-in vehicles offers $3,000 toward plug-in vehicles with a sale price under $50,000. This new State tax credit, when combined with the existing Federal tax credit of $7,500, can get you up to $10,500 on qualifying vehicles. That is significant.
  • There also is new funding for the State’s Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment or EVSE Charger Rebate Program. This helps pay for new charging equipment for your home, neighborhood or business. You can get up to $700 for residential charging. Commercial properties can get a rebate of up to $4,000.

EVs are in stock locally and dealerships are making it easier than ever to find deals. Each month, the County’s Department of Environmental Protection’s EV Team updates its website with incentives and special offers from automotive retailers in the County. You can find a link to that page here. The graphic above from the DEP website shows that we currently have five dealers in the County with specific EV deals.

We are pushing more consumers to switch to EVs to reduce our carbon emissions and meet our Climate Action goals. It also is good for car owners, saving them money in the long run.

As you can see on the graphic above, an EV costs only $5.21 for 100 miles as compared to $12.87 for a gas vehicle. An EV owner saves up to $10,000 over five years on fuel and maintenance as compared to those with gas cars. Those are significant savings that, when combined with the rebates, should be considered when considering purchase of a new vehicle.

Additionally, we continue to push grant applications to expand our stock of public EV charging stations at County facilities and private properties. We practice what we preach and continue to switch our County fleet of cars and buses over to electric.

Earlier this year, Governor Wes Moore announced Maryland’s Adoption of the Advanced Clean Cars II Rule to Combat the Effects of Climate Change. This new regulation requires manufacturers to continuously increase the share of electric vehicles sold, reaching 100 percent of passenger car and light truck sales by model year 2035.

This is an ambitious goal that I support and thank the Governor for his leadership. We will continue to do our part in Montgomery County when it comes to promoting the switch to EVs.

As always, my appreciation for all of you,
Marc Elrich
County Executive

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