Per Montgomery County: The Montgomery County Council will meet on Tuesday, Sept. 26 at 9 a.m. and will begin with two proclamation presentations. The first, presented by Councilmember Sidney Katz and County Executive Marc Elrich will recognize National Preparedness Month. The second, presented by Councilmembers Will Jawando, Gabe Albornoz and Laurie-Anne Sayles will recognize National Sickle Cell Awareness Month.
At 1:30 p.m. an additional proclamation, presented by Councilmember Jawando, Council President Evan Glass and Councilmembers Kate Stewart and Marilyn Balcombe, will recognize National Walk and Roll to School Day.
Introduction: Lead sponsor Council President Glass will introduce Bill 36-23, Sale of Firearms or Ammunition – Suicide Awareness and Firearm Education (SAFE) Act, which would require the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to develop literature about firearm safety, suicide prevention and conflict resolution. The bill would require sellers of firearms or ammunition to display and distribute the literature at points of sale and enable DHHS to enforce the display and distribution requirements.
Councilmembers Albornoz, Stewart, Sayles, Katz, Balcombe, Jawando and Vice President Andrew Friedson are cosponsors. A public hearing is scheduled for Oct. 10, 2023.
Introduction: Lead sponsors Councilmembers Jawando and Sayles will introduce Bill 37-23, Contracts and Procurement – Minority Owned Businesses – Sunset Date – Amendments, which would extend the sunset date for the County’s minority-owned business purchasing program by one year. All other Councilmembers are cosponsors of Bill 37-23.
Article XIV of the County Code, Purchases from Minority Owned Businesses, provides procurement procedures to address the fact that minority-owned businesses have experienced the effects of discrimination in the awarding of County contracts and subcontracts. The article is scheduled to sunset on December 31, 2023.
In the meantime, the County has engaged a consultant to conduct a disparity study to assess this program and the County’s contracting practices relative to minority-owned businesses. Expedited Bill 37-23 seeks to extend the sunset date of Article XIV by one year to Dec. 31, 2024, to prevent the program from expiring while waiting for completion of the disparity study.
A public hearing is scheduled for Oct. 17, 2023.
Introduction: The Council will introduce Expedited Bill 38-23, Tenant Displacement – Right of First Refusal to Buy Rental Housing – Amendments and Executive Regulation, which would amend County Code to allow the County Executive to designate a qualified entity that may exercise the right of first refusal. The purpose of the bill is to increase access to affordable housing and enable the County to more effectively evaluate and exercise the right of first refusal on the purchase of rental housing by delegating the ability to qualified entities.
The lead sponsor is the Council president at the request of County Executive Elrich. A public hearing is scheduled for Oct. 10, 2023.
Vote expected: The Council is expected to vote on Bill 18-22, Noise Control – Leaf Removal Equipment – Amendments, which would prohibit the sale and use of combustion engine-powered leaf blowers and leaf vacuums by a certain date; authorize a grant program to partially offset the cost of replacing a combustion engine powered leaf blower or leaf vacuum with an electric leaf blower or leaf vacuum; exempt the use of gas leaf blower equipment for agricultural producers; and require an annual report by the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection.
A motion under Rule 10(d) to take the bill from the table must be made prior to a motion and roll-call vote to adopt the bill. If the Council votes to take Bill 18-22 from the table, then the issue before the Council is whether to enact Bill 18-22, as amended by the Transportation and Environment (TE) Committee. The TE Committee unanimously recommended enactment with amendments.
The lead sponsor is former Council President Albornoz, at the request of the County Executive.
Vote expected: The Council is expected to vote on Spending Affordability Guidelines for the FY25 Capital Budget and the FY25-FY30 Capital Improvements Program (CIP). These guidelines limit certain types of debt that may be programmed for expenditures in the CIP and set the Council’s voting thresholds for the capital budget each year.
The Council must adopt spending affordability guidelines for the aggregate capital budget by the first Tuesday in October of every odd calendar year. By evaluating and setting appropriate debt levels every two years, the Council preserves the County’s fiscal health and manages the amount of general funds required for debt service.
The Government Operations and Fiscal Policy (GO) Committee voted unanimously to approve the guidelines. The GO Committee recommendation for County General Obligation Bonds is $280 million per year, or $1.68 billion in total, for the FY25-30 period. For the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Bonds, the recommendation is $8 million per year, or $48 million, in total for the FY25-30 period.
Each item on the Council’s Consent Calendar can be found on the Council agenda for Tuesday, Sept. 26, which is available on the Council website.
Unless otherwise noted, the Council will hold the following hybrid public hearings at 1:30 p.m. Residents can visit the Council website to learn about the multiple ways to provide testimony.
- WSSCWater Spending Control Limits
- Supplemental Appropriation #24-6 to the FY24 Operating Budget Montgomery County Government Department of Environmental Protection Environment Protection Agency State and Tribal Assistance GrantProgram, $500,000 (Source of Funds: Federal Funds)
- Resolution to amend the FY23-28 CIP and Supplemental Appropriation #24-5, DOT, Traffic Signals (No. 507154), $184,787.50 (Source of Funds: Current Revenue: General)
- Supplemental Appropriation to the County Government’s FY24 Capital Budget and Amendment to the FY23-28 Capital Improvements Program (CIP), $562,000, Good Hope Road Shared Use Path (Source of Funds: General Obligation Bonds)
District Council Session
Review: The Council will review the Montgomery Planning Board draft of the Pedestrian Master Plan. The plan is Montgomery Planning’s first comprehensive vision to create safer, more comfortable experiences walking or rolling around the County, and to make getting around more convenient and accessible for every pedestrian.
On July 25, the Council received an overview of the Planning Board draft, which was followed by the public hearing. The TE Committee held two meetings to review the plan, with its first meeting held on Sept. 11 and second meeting held on Sept. 18.
The Council worksession will review the TE Committee’s recommendations and straw votes may be taken. Action to approve the plan will be scheduled in October.
Briefing: The Council will receive a briefing on the Fairland and Briggs Chaney Master Plan. The plan is an update to a portion of the 1997 Fairland Master Plan and will establish a clear vision for an equitable, just and prosperous future for the Fairland community, mirroring the County’s long-term priorities, which includes a vibrant economy, equity for all residents and a healthy environment.
The master plan boundary consists primarily of property and neighborhoods of Fairland and Briggs Chaney along the U.S. 29 Corridor near Paint Branch on the south and toward Greencastle Road on the north. The update will examine and provide policies and recommendations on existing and future land uses and zoning, housing inventory and needs, transportation systems, historic preservation opportunities, area park facilities and the environment.
The Council will hold a public hearing on the plan on Sept. 27 at 7 p.m. at the East County Community Recreation Center. The deadline to sign up to testify during the public hearing is Sept. 26 at 5 p.m.
Vote expected: The Council is expected to vote on the City of Gaithersburg’s annexation request for 8939 and 8941 North Westland Drive. The request would annex approximately nine acres of land from Montgomery County into the City of Gaithersburg. This annexation is made up of three properties within the Walnut Hill Shopping Center. The current zoning is CRT-2.25 C-1.5 R-0.75 H-45 (Commercial Residential Town). The petitioner requests the City of Gaithersburg’s General Commercial (C-2) and Corridor Development (CD) zones. Both the current zoning and proposed zoning allow for a mix of retail, commercial and residential uses.
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