For Immediate Release: Monday, October 18, 2021
Also on Oct. 19: Council vote expected on legislation extending the sunset date for the County’s Minority Owned Business Purchasing Program and virtual lunch meeting with the Maryland Association of Counties
The Council will meet virtually on Tuesday, October 19 at 9 a.m. The meeting will begin with two proclamations. The first, recognizes Breast Cancer Awareness Month and will be presented by Councilmember Navarro. The second, recognizes White Cane Awareness Day and will be presented by Council President Hucker.
Information on each Council agenda item can be viewed below.
Briefing: The Council is expected to receive an update on state police reform legislation. During its last legislative session, the Maryland General Assembly considered several police reform bills and passed a police reform package that included sweeping changes in police discipline and other provisions that attempt to increase police accountability.
The five bills that passed the Maryland General Assembly included four Senate bills and the omnibus House Bill 670, which repealed the Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights and replaces it with a new disciplinary framework. Other changes include specifying that certain investigatory and disciplinary records are subject to disclosure under the Maryland Public Information Act, establishing an independent investigative unit within the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) to investigate all alleged or potential police-involved deaths of civilians, and modifying the execution of certain search warrants. The legislation also specifies when body-worn cameras must be worn, restricts the use of no-knock search warrants, prohibits the receipt of certain surplus military equipment from the federal government, establishes a use of force statute, restricts the use of forensic genealogy DNA in certain circumstances and requires an annual report to the Governor’s Office of Crime, Control, and Prevention on every monetary settlement or judgment against a police officer.
Montgomery County is reliant on the state to implement certain provisions of these laws and has established an implementation committee to address all aspect of police reform as well as the Task Force to Reimagine Public Safety. The Montgomery County Police Department has formed internal working groups to address state law changes and has implemented the provisions that became effective on Oct. 1. The Police Department will provide an overview of these changes.
Those expected to attend the meeting to provide information include Dr. Earl Stoddard, assistant chief administrative officer, Darren Francke, assistant chief, Management Services Bureau, Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD); Marc Erme, director, Policy and Planning, MCPD; Jordan Satinsky, lieutenant, Executive Officer Management Services Bureau, MCPD.
Public hearing: The Council is expected to hold a public hearing on Expedited Bill 34-21, Personnel and Human Resources – COVID-19 Vaccination Required, which would require County employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment. Accommodations to the requirement would be available for medical reasons. Councilmembers Riemer and Jawando are lead sponsors of the bill. Council Vice President Albornoz is a cosponsor.
If enacted, an employee who fails to provide proof of vaccination or apply for a medical accommodation within seven days of notification from the County would be placed on unpaid leave. An employee who fails to fulfill the vaccination requirement or to secure a medical accommodation, after having been placed on leave would be subject to dismissal from County employment. The requirements and implementation of Expedited Bill 34-21 would be expressly exempt from collective bargaining and provisions of the Montgomery County Code related to collective bargaining.
Introduction: Lead sponsors Councilmember Katz and Vice President Albornoz are expected to introduce Bill 36-21, Motor Vehicles and Traffic – E-Scooters – Operation Requirements, which would permit County residents to register an electric low speed scooter for personal use. The bill would also require the owner of two or more e-scooters to register and pay a fee for an e-scooter fleet offered for rent in the County. In addition, the bill would also establish operating and parking requirements for e-scooter use in the County. Council Vice President Albornoz is a cosponsor of the bill.
Bill 36-21 is similar to Bill 8-20, Bicycles and E-Scooters – Operating Requirements and Registration, which was introduced on March 3, 2020, and recommended for approval with amendment by the joint Public Safety (PS) and Transportation and Environment (T&E) Committee on June 25, 2020. However, Bill 8-20 was never considered by the full Council before expiring due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Bill 36-21 includes the amendments approved by the joint PS and T&E Committee last June.
Introduction: Lead sponsor Council Vice President Albornoz is expected to introduce Bill 37-21, Animal Control – Animal Services Advisory Committee – Established, which would establish a new County Animal Services Advisory Committee to improve operations of the County Office of Animal Services (OAS).
The proposed committee would have 11 voting members representing different stakeholders and three non-voting ex officio members from OAS. All Committee members would be appointed by the County Executive and confirmed by the County Council. The committee would work with OAS to advise the Executive and the Council on issues related to animal care and welfare, rescue, fostering and adoption, population control, disease and bite prevention, public education about wildlife, best practices and volunteer recruitment for the County animal shelter and the operation of OAS.
Introduction: Lead sponsors Council Vice President Albornoz and Councilmember Navarro are expected to introduce Bill 38-21, Economic Development Fund – Local Business Child Care Grant Program – Established, which would require the Director of the Department of Finance to create and administer a Local Business Child Care Grant Program within the County’s Economic Development Fund. The purpose of the bill is to support businesses’ efforts to subsidize childcare for their employees. Councilmembers Katz, Friedson and Riemer and Council President Hucker are cosponsors of the bill.
If approved, the new Child Care Grant Program created by the bill would allow local for-profit or non-profit businesses with 50 or fewer employees to apply for a grant from the County to match up to 50 percent of the employer’s contributions to its employees’ Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) for eligible childcare and dependent care. The match would be available only for employer contributions to FSAs for employees earning gross incomes of less than $125,000.
A public hearing is tentatively scheduled for November 9.
Introduction: Lead sponsors Council President Hucker and Council Vice President Albornoz are expected to introduce Bill 39-21, Taxation – Public Safety Officers – Public Safety Emergency Communications Specialists – Property Tax Credit, which would provide a property tax credit for public safety officers and public safety emergency communications specialists employed by the County.
The purpose of the bill is to increase the number of County employees occupying public safety positions who reside in the County and help recruit and retain public safety employees. If approved, Bill 39-21 would establish a maximum $2,500 County property tax credit for full-time sworn police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and public safety emergency communications specialists employed by the County.
Vote expected: The Council is expected to vote on expedited Bill 29-21, which is companion legislation to a $700,000 special appropriation to the County’s FY22 Operating Budget, for a disparity study for the County’s Minority, Female and Disabled-Owned Business Program. The bill would extend the program for two years, providing until July 1, 2023, for the director of the Office of Procurement to submit a report to the Council and the County Executive on the need to continue the program and extend the sunset date of the program until Dec. 31, 2023.
Montgomery County’s Minority, Female and Disabled-Owned Business Program attracts and assists certified minority firms in gaining access to prime contractor and subcontractor opportunities in Montgomery County government agencies. The program also conducts outreach activities and workshops to provide a forum for businesses to explore individual and joint contracting opportunities.
The Office of Legislative Oversight estimated that this bill would have a net positive impact on economic conditions in the County by increasing the number of local companies receiving County contracts and would favorably impact racial equity and social justice in the County by narrowing the entrepreneurship gap by race and ethnicity. The Government Operation and Fiscal Policy (GO) Committee unanimously recommended the enactment of Expedited Bill 29-21 as introduced.
Introduction: Lead sponsor Council President Hucker is expected to introduce Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 21-08, Landscape Contractor – Use Standards, which would expand the definition for landscape contractor and allow it as a limited use in certain zones. The purpose of this ZTA is to create a less cost prohibitive process for landscaping companies, while placing certain limits on the sites where this use is located.
Landscape contractor activities are currently characterized as a conditional use in the agricultural, rural residential, residential estate and R-200 zones. ZTA 21-08 will add the growing of plant materials for the contracting business to the definition of landscape contractor. The ZTA will also allow landscape contractor activities as a limited use in those zones if certain conditions are met, including a minimum lot area of two acres, building and parking setbacks of 50 feet and a limitation on commercial and motor vehicles. A public hearing is scheduled for November 30.
Introduction: Lead sponsor Councilmember Friedson is expected to introduce ZTA 21-09, which would create a streamlined regulatory process for biohealth facilities. The ZTA creates a new definition for a Biohealth Priority Campus that includes life sciences, research and development or medical, scientific manufacturing and production.
In addition, the ZTA would allow a speedier regulatory process for biohealth facilities of 150,000 square feet or more and for existing biohealth facilities already located in the County that are expanding by 50,000 square feet or more. If approved, this new use will be allowed in the commercial/residential and employment office zones and for developments within or adjacent to a red policy area, within an opportunity zone or within one-half mile of a planned or existing Bus Rapid Transit route.
Vote expected: The Council is expected to vote on ZTA 21-04, which supports the implementation of new zoning recommended by the Germantown Plan for the Town Sector Zone by offering protections to the existing development character of Churchill Village. The Council approved and adopted the Germantown Plan for the Town Sector Zone in July 2020.
ZTA 21-04 addresses irregularities between existing development and new zoning standards as a result of the rezoning, grandfathers existing by-right uses from the old Town Sector (T-S) Zone and protects quasi-public open spaces from future development.
The lead sponsor is Council President Hucker, at the request of the Planning Board. The Planning, Housing and Economic Development (PHED) Committee recommends approval.
Those expected to attend and provide information include Casey Anderson, chair, Planning Board; Jason Sartori, chief, Countywide Planning and Policy, Planning Department; Benjamin Berbert, planner coordinator, Countywide Planning and Policy, Planning Department; Patrick Butler, chief, Upcounty Planning Division, Planning Department; Don Zeigler, supervisor, Upcounty Planning Division, Planning Department; and Phillip Estes, planner coordinator, Upcounty Planning Division, Planning Department.
Review and vote expected: The Council is expected to review and vote on Sectional Map Amendment (SMA) H-139 to implement the Approved and Adopted Germantown Plan for the Town Sector Zone. The SMA application covers approximately 1,270 acres under the Town Sector zone in the Germantown plan area, of which all land and water are proposed for a change in zoning classification.
The Sector Plan sets forth the specific land use and zoning objectives for the reclassification of land from the Town Sector zone in the Germantown Plan area and was subject to extensive and detailed review by the District Council.
Those expected to attend and provide information include Casey Anderson, chair, Planning Board; Gwen Wright, director, Montgomery Planning Department; Patrick Butler, chief, Upcounty Planning Division, Planning Department; Phillip Estes, planner coordinator, Upcounty Planning Division, Planning Department; and Jamey Pratt, senior planner, Up-County Planning.
Briefing and public hearing: The Council is expected to receive an update and hold a public hearing on the Great Seneca Science Corridor Minor Master Plan Amendment. The plan amendment was approved by the Planning Board on July 1, 2021, and will amend the approved and adopted 2010 Great Seneca Science Corridor Master Plan. This amendment is not a traditional master plan amendment, as it does not provide recommendations for land use, zoning, transportation, parks, trails, open space, community facilities or the environment.
The amendment evaluates the 2010 plan, considers progress towards the plan’s vision, illustrates departures from and barriers to implementing the original vision and provides a recommendation for adjustments to the plan’s staging requirements.
For more information, the Planning Board draft can be viewed here.
Those expected to attend and provide information include Casey Anderson, chair, Planning Board; Gwen Wright, director, Montgomery Planning Department; Jessica McVary, planner coordinator, Planning Department; and Maren Hill, senior planner, Planning Department.
Amendment to FY22 Operating Budget; Resolution 19-872, Section G, FY22 Designation of Entities for Non-Competitive Contract Award Status: Silver Spring Village, Inc., Catholic Charities of the Archdioceses of Washington, Inc., and Identity, Inc.
Introduction and vote expected: The Council is expected to introduce and vote on a resolution to amend the FY22 Operating Budget for the Montgomery County Government, Resolution 19-872, Section G, Designation of Entities for Non-Competitive Contract Award Status: Silver Spring Village, Inc., Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington, Inc., and Identity Inc. This amendment would allow the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to modify its contract with the Silver Spring Village, allow Catholic Charities to use carry-over of grant funds for its Housing First and Rapid Re-Housing program and expand two contracts with Identity Inc. to provide family reunification and case management for newcomers.
Public hearing: The Council is expected to hold a public hearing on a $720,300 supplemental appropriation which would fund a contractor to develop crowd sourcing system software and a smartphone mobile application for Ride On. The crowd sourcing software would be deployed to a subset of transit routes and would receive passenger loading information from automatic passenger counters.
The lead sponsor is Council President Hucker, at the request of the County Executive.
Public hearing: The Council is expected to hold a public hearing on a resolution to amend FY22 transportation fees, charges and fares based on the County’s Fare Equity Study conducted by the Department of Transportation for Ride On. Based on information from the study, the County Executive is recommending reducing the basic Ride On fare from $2 to $1. Express routes that charged $4.25 before the fare holiday would also have their fares reduced to $1. The monthly pass cost would be reduced from $45 to $22.50. The new fare structure would not go into effect until Jan. 2, 2022, when the fare holiday that was unanimously passed by the Council is set to expire.
The Transportation and Environment Committee is scheduled to review the resolution on Oct. 28.
Supplemental Appropriation to the FY22 Operating Budget, Montgomery County Government, Department of Health and Human Services; University of Maryland’s Office of Research Administration, Short-Term Housing Assistance for Human Trafficking Survivors: A Path to Permanent Housing; $300,000
Public hearing: The Council is expected to hold a public hearing on a supplemental appropriation to the FY22 Operating Budget of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in the amount of $300,000 for a grant from the University of Maryland Office of Research Administration for short-term housing assistance for human trafficking survivors.
This funding will be used to support residents of Montgomery County by providing resources directly to victims of human trafficking and will bolster DHHS efforts in administering assistance to victims of human trafficking. It will also support the collection of data that will be critical to developing strategies for ending human trafficking in Montgomery County. The program will be administered by DHHS, Services to End and Prevent Homelessness.
The lead sponsor is Council President Hucker, at the request of the County Executive.
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 and committees are meeting via Zoom this fall because of ongoing construction and technology upgrades in the Council’s Hearing Room and the inability to conduct meetings in a socially distant way in other areas of the Council Office Building with television broadcast capacity. Councilmembers will continue to hold meetings in their offices by appointment.
The virtual Council and committee meetings will be 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.