Per Montgomery County: The Montgomery County Council will meet on Tuesday, May 16 at 9 a.m. and the meeting will begin with two proclamation presentations. The first proclamation, presented by Councilmembers Dawn Luedtke and Natali Fani-González, commemorates American Craft Beer Week. The second proclamation presentation, led by Councilmember Marilyn Balcombe, recognizes May 2023 as Discover MoCo Month.
The afternoon session will begin at 1 p.m. with an additional proclamation presentation recognizing National Bike to Work Day, led by Councilmember Laurie-Anne Sayles. More detail on each agenda item is provided below.
Nominations and Appointment to the Montgomery County Planning Board – Commissioner
Vote expected: At 2 p.m., the Council is expected to nominate and vote to appoint a new Montgomery County Planning Board member. Roberto Piñero has been serving as a temporary acting Planning Board member.
Since the position starts a new full term on the Planning Board, candidates may be registered to vote in the County as a member of any political party or be unaffiliated with any political party. 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. Annual compensation for Planning Board members is currently $30,000.
Nominations and Appointment to the Montgomery County Planning Board – Chair
Vote expected: At 2:15 p.m., the Council is expected to nominate and vote to appoint a new Montgomery County Planning Board chair. Jeff Zyontz has been serving as a temporary acting chair.
Since the position starts a new full term on the Planning Board, candidates may be registered to vote in the County as a member of any political party or be unaffiliated with any political party. 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. Annual compensation for the full-time chair is currently $228,000.
Bill 14-23, Late Night Business Safety Plan
Vote expected: The Council is expected to vote on Bill 14-23, Late Night Business Safety Plan, which would require that certain businesses obtain an approved late night business safety plan before operating in certain areas of the County, authorize the Police Department to review and approve a proposed late night business safety plan and authorize the Police Department to establish the requirements of a late-night business plan. The goal of this bill is to help reduce violent crime often associated with businesses that operate between midnight and 6 a.m. in priority areas identified by the Montgomery County Police Department.
The lead sponsor is the Council President at the request of the County Executive. The Public Safety (PS) Committee recommends enactment with amendments.
Expedited Bill 30-22, Buildings – Demolition or Removal
Vote expected:The Council is expected to vote on Bill Expedited 30-22, Buildings – Demolition or Removal, which would amend the definition of demolish in the County Code so that it would mean not only the tearing down of an entire building or structure but also tearing down 67 percent or more of first story exterior walls of a one-family or two-family dwelling unit. The bill was originally introduced by former Councilmembers Tom Hucker and Hans Riemer. The bill is now cosponsored by Councilmembers Balcombe, Sidney Katz, Kate Stewart and Sayles. The purpose of Bill 30-22 is to address situations where buildings can be substantially removed except for a small portion to avoid the need for a demolition permit.
By changing the threshold for requiring a demolition permit, a person seeking to substantially remove a building would have to go through the same process as someone tearing down the whole building thereby requiring the applicant to meet requirements regarding the disconnection of utilities, pest control and environmental and stormwater management measures. This would also ensure that when building the new structure, the applicant would have to apply for a new construction building permit which would in turn require that they must provide a new home warranty to the consumer who purchases that home.
FY24 Compensation Follow-Up: OPEB Funding Policy
Review: Other Postemployment Benefits (OPEB) are defined as non-pension benefits offered by an employer to retirees, including retiree health, prescription, dental and vision insurance.
The Government Operations and Fiscal Policy (GO) Committee met on May 5 to receive an update on the development of a long-term OPEB funding policy. As next steps in this process, the committee unanimously recommended adopting two provisions as part of the FY24 operating budget resolution. The intent of the resolution provisions is to ensure the timely review and adoption of an updated policy and ensure that resources are available in FY24 to provide any required prefunding increase. The committee’s recommendation does not impact the FY24 funding levels for OPEB as recommended by the County Executive and supported by the Council on April 25.
The first provision requires the County Executive to submit a draft OPEB funding policy to the Council developed in collaboration with Council staff and the County’s actuarial advisors by Oct. 1, 2023. The second provision indicates the County’s intent to utilize at least $3.5 million in FEMA reimbursement funds for additional OPEB pre-funding for Montgomery County Government in fiscal year 2024 based on the final approved OPEB funding policy.
FY24 Recommendations for Revenue Stabilization Fund
Review: The Council will review the Executive’s recommendation for a one-time deferral in the County’s mandatory contribution to the Revenue Stabilization Fund, which is also known as the County’s rainy-day fund. The County’s reserves consist of two primary components. The first is the $604 million Revenue Stabilization Fund and the other is the General Fund undesignated reserves. Together, the combined amount in these two components must equal 10 percent of adjusted gross revenue. The County must make an annual mandatory contribution to the Revenue Stabilization Fund that is the greater of 50 percent of excess revenue, or an annual amount equal to the lesser of 0.5 percent of adjusted governmental revenue or the amount needed to obtain a total reserve of 10 percent of adjusted gross revenue.
The County Executive’s recommended budget estimates total FY23 ending reserves at approximately 14 percent of adjusted gross revenue, with 10 percent or $604 million, in the Revenue Stabilization Fund. This would be combined with 3.9 percent, or $238 million, in the unrestricted General Fund reserves. To achieve this allocation between the Revenue Stabilization Fund and unrestricted reserves, the Executive is recommending that the Council approve a one-time deferral for FY23 of the mandatory contribution to the Revenue Stabilization Fund due to excess revenues.
Appointment of Clerk of the Council: Sara R. Tenenbaum
Vote expected: The Council is expected to vote on the appointment of Sara R. Tenenbaum to Clerk of the Council. Interviews for the position were conducted during a closed session on May 9, 2023.
Each item on the Council’s Consent Calendar can be found on the Council agenda for Tuesday, May 16, 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.
Public hearing and vote expected: The Council will hold a public hearing and is expected to vote on a more than $4.9 million FY23 Supplemental Appropriation for the Educational Support Professionals Bonus Grant, which provides funding from the Maryland State Department of Education to provide bonuses to noncertificated public school employees.
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.
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.