Council to Receive an Update on the County’s Ongoing Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic and Vote on WSSC Water’s Fiscal Year 2023 Spending Limits and New Montgomery County Planning Board Member at Virtual Meeting on Oct. 26 Starting at 9 a.m.

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For Immediate Release: Monday, October 25, 2021

Also on Oct. 26: Councilmember Jawando and Vice President Albornoz introduce a nearly $2 million special appropriation for a new Guaranteed Income Pilot Program and Councilmember Friedson introduces a subdivision regulation amendment to expedite subdivision plans for biohealth facilities

The Council will meet virtually on Tuesday, October 26 at 9 a.m. The meeting will begin with a proclamation recognizing National Employment Disability Awareness Month and will be presented by Councilmember Glass, Council Vice President Albornoz and Councilmember Rice.

Information on each Council agenda item can be viewed below.

Updates from County Government and Montgomery County Public Schools – Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Health Planning

Update: Sitting as the Board of Health, the Council will receive an update on the County’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its recovery and vaccination efforts. The update will include information from Montgomery County Public Schools about their ongoing COVID safety measures.

Those expected to provide information include Dr. Raymond Crowel, director, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS); James Bridgers, acting chief health officer, DHHS; Dr. Earl Stoddard, assistant chief administrative officer, Montgomery County Government; James D’Andrea, chief of staff, Office of the Superintendent, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS); and Heather Dublinske, coordinator, Student Welfare and Compliance, MCPS. Join the conversation with #COVID-19.

Montgomery County Planning Board Applicants

Vote expected: The Council is expected to vote to appoint one applicant to fill a partial term on the Montgomery County Planning Board (MCPB) which is scheduled to end on June 14, 2022. Members serve four-year terms and are limited to two full terms. The Council received five applications from Democratic candidates to fill the partial term vacancy on the MCPB that occurred when Ms. Natali Fani-Gonzalez resigned in August 2021. Two applicants were selected for interviews that were held on Oct. 12, Ms. Carol Rubin and Mr. Roberto Pinero.

No more than three members of the Planning Board may be from the same political party, and each member must be a resident and registered voter of Montgomery County when appointed. Because Ms. Fani-Gonzalez was a Democrat, this partial term position must be filled by a Democrat.

The Planning Board serves as the Council’s principal adviser on land use planning and community planning. Planning Board members also serve as commissioners of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission. Current Board members are Chair Casey Anderson, Gerald Cichy, Tina Patterson and Partap Verma.

Special Appropriation to the County Government’s FY22 Operating Budget, Guaranteed Income Non-Departmental Account (NDA) – Guaranteed Income Pilot Program – $1,993,832

Introduction: Lead sponsors Councilmembers Jawando and Albornoz will introduce a nearly $2 million Special Appropriation to the FY22 Operating Budget for a Guaranteed Income Pilot Program. Councilmember Glass, Council President Hucker and Councilmembers Rice and Riemer are cosponsors.

The purpose of this special appropriation is to provide the initial funding to implement a Montgomery County Guaranteed Income Pilot Program. The pilot program would enroll 300 households and provide a payment of $800 per month for 24 months. The pilot will be a public-private partnership with a $1 million grant from the Meyer Foundation to support this effort.

Guaranteed income is a direct, recurring cash payment to a specific, targeted group of people without strings attached. The purpose of guaranteed income is to alleviate poverty, provide a form of financial stability and give people the ability to make their own choices to improve their economic position. Other guaranteed pilot programs have shown positive outcomes, including the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration pilot.

Resolution to Amend Resolution 19-872, Approval and Appropriation for the FY 2022 Operating Budget of the Montgomery County Government, Budget Provision #67, Screening and Legal Representation in Deportation Cases; and, Section G, FY 2022 Designation of Entities for NonCompetitive Contract Award Status: Ayuda, Inc., HIAS, Inc., KIND, Inc. d/b/a/ Kids in Need of Defense, and Luminus Network, Inc. (formerly FIRN, Inc.)

Introduction and vote expected: The Council is expected to introduce and hold a vote on a resolution to amend Resolution 19-872, which would update the language used in the current resolution that was approved by the Council on May 27, 2021. Resolution 19-872 appropriates $551,100 to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to provide legal representation to low-income county residents in deportation proceedings and eligibility screening for these services.

The amendment to the resolution clarifies the Council’s intent that legal representation in front of the Department of Justice, United States Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) and as may be necessary before the Maryland Courts, may be undertaken using County funds. Services may include work required to pursue a U Visa, asylum, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status or other pathway to prevent deportation and are not limited to Department of Justice proceedings. Contracts funded by this appropriation must comply with income eligibility and restrictions on post-conviction relief and certain final criminal convictions in Section H of Resolution 18-1114.

FY22 Capital Budget and Amendments to the MCPS FY21-26 Capital Improvements Program – Transfer of Funds for the Charles W. Woodward High School Reopening Project

Public hearing: The Council will hold a public hearing on an amendment to the Montgomery County Schools (MCPS) FY21-26 CIP current revitalizations and expansions project and a related transfer within the FY22 capital budget to the MCPS local unliquidated surplus account. The Council will also introduce a transfer of $4 million within the FY22 capital budget from the MCPS local unliquidated surplus account and a related amendment to the MCPS FY21-26 CIP Charles W. Woodward High School reopening project.

The transfer is needed for the current revitalizations and expansions project which includes three completed subprojects with surplus balances due to cost savings. These projects are at Seneca Valley High School, Tilden Middle School and Wheaton High School. Conversely, the Woodward High School reopening project is facing cost increases because the construction industry has experienced an unprecedented increase in material costs, disruption in supply chain and labor shortages. The unforeseen additional funding needed to complete the Woodward reopening project is $4 million, which includes value engineering and a redesign of areas of the building.

The Council is tentatively scheduled to vote on these transfer requests and CIP amendments on Nov. 2, 2021.

FY22 Supplemental Appropriations and Amendments to the FY 21-26 CIP Transfer of Funds – Capital Projects

Public hearing: The Council will hold a public hearing on an amendment to the MCPS FY21-26 CIP DuFief Elementary School addition and facility upgrade project and a related $33.9 million transfer within the FY22 Capital Budget to the MCPS local unliquidated surplus account.

The Council will also introduce a transfer within the FY22 Capital Budget from the MCPS local unliquidated surplus account and related amendments to the MCPS FY21-26 CIP Burnt Mills Elementary School, Clarksburg Cluster Elementary School, South Lake Elementary School, Stone Gate Elementary School, Woodlin Elementary School and Poolesville High School projects.

The transfer is needed because MCPS identified unexpended funds from the DuFief Elementary School addition and facility upgrade project where improvements were to be made to address aging infrastructure and more specifically, overutilization at Rachel Carson Elementary School. However, projections indicate student enrollment will not grow at the previously projected rate, resulting in the reduction of the overutilization at Rachel Carson Elementary School.

The Council is tentatively scheduled to vote on these transfer requests and CIP amendments on Nov. 2, 2021.

Subdivision Regulation Amendment (SRA) 21-02, Administrative Subdivision – Biohealth Priority Campus

Introduction: Lead sponsor Councilmember Friedson will introduce Subdivision Regulation Amendment (SRA) 21-02, which would allow the Planning Director to approve an administrative subdivision plan for biohealth facilities under an expedited process.

This is an accompanying SRA to Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 21-09, Office and Professional – Biohealth Priority Campus, which was introduced by Councilmember Friedson on Oct. 19, 2021 and would create a streamlined regulatory process for biohealth facilities. Without an accompanying SRA, a biohealth priority campus would be subject to the preliminary plan of subdivision, which takes additional time and may conflict with the expedited process created for this use by ZTA 21-09.

Council President Hucker is a cosponsor of the legislation. A public hearing is tentatively scheduled to be held on Nov. 30, 2021.

FY23 Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC Water) Spending Control Limits

Vote expected: The Council is expected to vote on the Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) WSSC Water Spending Control Limits. WSSC’s spending control limits process was established in April 1994 via resolution by both Montgomery and Prince George’s County Councils, with the goal of both Councils agreeing on certain budgetary limits by Nov. 1 of each year.

WSSC is the bi-county governmental agency charged with providing water and sanitary sewer service within the Washington Suburban Sanitary District, which includes most of Montgomery County and Prince George’s County.

Those expected to attend and provide information representing WSSC Water include Carla Reid, general manager and CEO Joe Beach; deputy general manager for administration; James Price, deputy general manager for operations; Monica Johnson, deputy general manager for strategy and partnerships; Patti Colihan, chief financial officer; Letitia Carolina-Powell, budget division manager; Julie Pohutsky, budget section manager; Fariha Babar, incoming budget section manager; and Brian Halloran, capital budget section manager. Those expected to attend and provide information representing the County Government include Steve Shofar, division chief, Intergovernmental Affairs, Department of Environmental Protection and Rafael Murphy, fiscal and policy analyst, Office of Management and Budget.

The Committee 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.

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