Montgomery County Council Meets on March 15 at 9:45 a.m. to Review Latest Public Health Information, Legislation Establishing Police Accountability Board, Measures to Promote Biohealth Campuses and Enhance Sports Opportunities

by Patrick Herron

For Immediate Release: Monday, March 14, 2022

Also on March 15: Special appropriation to fund initiatives to support minority, female and disabled-owned businesses and resolution to support public health officials

The Council will return to meet in-person on Tuesday, March 15, at 9:45 a.m. at the Council Office Building in Rockville. The meeting will begin with a public health update on the County’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Public hearings will begin at 1:30 p.m. and residents will continue to have the opportunity to testify remotely for public hearings or provide in-person testimony. The Council is recommending that residents, who choose to attend in-person Council meetings, get fully vaccinated to protect themselves and others against COVID-19. If this is not possible, virtual participation is encouraged.

More detail on each agenda item is provided 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 case data, vaccinations, quarantine and testing programs.

Those expected to provide information include Dr. Raymond Crowel, director, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS); James Bridgers, acting chief health officer, DHHS; Mark Hodge, acting senior administrator, School Health Services (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.

Expedited Bill 49-21, Police Accountability Board – Administrative Charging Committee – Established

Review: The Council will continue its review of Expedited Bill 49-21, Police – Police Accountability Board – Administrative Charging Committee – Established, which would establish a Police Accountability Board (PAB) and Administrative Charging Committee (ACC) for the County. The goal of the bill is to help improve police accountability.

The Public Safety (PS) Committee held three meetings to review and amend the bill. The proposed amendments would increase the PAB membership to nine voting members with at least one member residing in a municipality covered by the PAB and permit the Executive to appoint one or more non-voting members, clarify that all complaints from the public must be investigated and reported to the ACC, require funding for training of PAB and ACC members from the police and outside organizations and authorize the Council to remove a member for failure to complete required training.

The Council approved each of these PS Committee amendments at its first meeting to review Expedited Bill 49-21. In addition, the Council removed reference to a violation of law, as one of the reasons for removal of a member. The Council also approved an amendment that replaces general language indicating that professional experience is required, with more detailed language requiring that the individual be able to demonstrate through professional or lived experience the ability to balance effective oversight, perform objective analysis of an investigation report and practice procedural fairness.

The Maryland General Assembly enacted a series of laws establishing uniform standards for police department operations throughout the state. One of these laws, House Bill (HB) 670, created a new uniform procedure for police accountability and discipline. This new law requires the governing body of each county to establish a PAB and an ACC to handle complaints of police misconduct from residents. HB 670 also gives the County PAB and the County ACC jurisdiction over police misconduct complaints against municipal police departments located in the County.

The lead sponsor is the Council President, at the request of the County Executive.

Supplemental Appropriation to the County Government’s FY22 Capital Budget, Department of Recreation; and amendment to the FY21-26 Capital Improvements Program – $109,000 for Public Arts Trust

Introduction: The Council will introduce a $109,000 Special Appropriation for the Public Arts Trust. The appropriation for this project will fund payments to Public Arts Trust project vendors and is needed for technical contractual reasons.

The lead sponsor is the Council President, at the request of the County Executive. A public hearing is scheduled for April 5 at 1:30 pm.

Special Appropriation to the County Government’s FY22 Operating Budget, Department of Health and Human Services – $2,539,747 for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Crisis Cooperative Agreement, COVID-19 Public Health Workforce Supplemental Funding Grant

Introduction: The Council will introduce a more than $2.5 million special appropriation for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Crisis Cooperative Agreement, COVID-19 Public Health Workforce Supplemental Funding Grant. The funding will support school-based health programs and support hiring school nurses, clinical staff, disease control investigation staff and administrative support.

The lead sponsor is the Council President, at the request of the County Executive. A public hearing is scheduled for March 22.

Resolution to Renew Contract for Audit Services

Introduction: The Council will introduce a resolution to renew contract for audit services. On March 10, 2022, the Audit Committee reviewed a draft contract amendment to renew audit services with SB & Company. The contract would require SB & Company to complete work for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2022 and the calendar year ending December 31, 2022.

The County Charter and County Code require the Council to contract with a certified public accounting firm to conduct annual audits of the County Government, the Employee Retirement Plans, the Consolidated Retiree Health Benefits Trust, and the Montgomery County Union Employees Deferred Compensation Plan.

A vote is tentatively scheduled for March 22, 2022.

Special Appropriation to the County Government’s FY22 Operating Budget, Department of Recreation – $100,000 for Expansion of Sports Leagues for Girls

Introduction: Lead sponsors Councilmember Riemer and Council President Albornoz will introduce a $100,000 special appropriation for the expansion of sports leagues for girls in Montgomery County. Councilmembers Friedson, Katz and Navarro are cosponsors.

The appropriation would expand affordable, accessible recreational sports programming tailored to the interests of girls at all levels to increase their participation in sports and reduce the drop-off in participation as they enter middle school and high school. This appropriation would fund the Department of Recreation to engage elementary and middle school girls in volleyball, softball and lacrosse introductory activities, instructional skills classes and clinics, with the goal of establishing County-wide recreational leagues for these sports in FY23. Funding will also support expansion of the Soccer-4-Change girls’ program.

There are significant gender disparities which persist in local sports programs, with girls and women accessing fewer participation opportunities than boys and men. Gender disparities in sports participation begin when children are young and widen as they reach middle school, and more dramatically during high school. Because of these disparities, many girls are not able to benefit from the improved health, social and life outcomes associated with sports participation. In addition, access to sports programming has also been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recent analysis, conducted by the County’s Office of Legislative Oversight on youth sports participation in Montgomery County and gender equity in local sports programs, confirmed the numerous benefits of sports participation for children and youth in social and emotional development and overall health and wellness. The analysis also found that there is a wide discrepancy in sports participation in the County. The reports identified barriers to access that relate to social and economic factors in addition to sexual orientation and gender identity.

A public hearing is scheduled for March 22.

Special appropriation to the FY22 Operating Budget, Montgomery County Government, Incubator Programs Non-Departmental Account, $789,000

Introduction: Lead sponsors Councilmember Riemer and Jawando will introduce a $780,000 Special Appropriation to fund initiatives to support minority, female and disabled-owned (MFD) businesses. The funds will improve and expand seven small business programs that address the needs of the diverse group of businesses owners located in Montgomery County. Councilmember Friedson is a cosponsor.

The initiatives that will be funded through this appropriation include the following:

  • $200,000 for the County to initiate a Center for MFD Entrepreneurship in the Silver Spring Innovation Center;
  • up to $100,000 for a contract with the Maryland Black Chamber of Commerce for its Leadership Academy and a Small Business Lending Feasibility Study;
  • up to $31,000 for a contract with the Black Business Council for its Black Business Database; up to $175,000 for a contract with the Maryland Small Business Development Center (SBDC);
  • up to $50,000 for a contract with the Maryland Procurement and Technical Assistance Center to provide small businesses with assistance in obtaining federal, state and Montgomery County procurement prime and subcontracts;
  • up to $60,000 for a contract with Nonprofit Village to provide for support and training for nonprofits founded and operated by Black executives; and
  • up to $173,000 for a contract with the Black Collective for leadership and stakeholder engagement, community engagement forums, Black business training and technical assistance, a community online information portal and a community engagement assessment and environmental scan.

A public hearing is scheduled for March 22.

Executive Regulation No. 14-21, Amendment to the Montgomery County Personnel Regulations – Adding an Official Holiday

Introduction and vote expected: The Council is expected to introduce and vote on a resolution to approve Executive Regulation 14-21, which would amend the personnel regulations to add Juneteenth as an official holiday that the County observes. The holiday would be observed on June 19 of each year, or an alternate day designated by the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) if June 19 falls on a Saturday or Sunday. Once approved, County employees would receive paid leave on Juneteenth.

The lead sponsor is the Council President, at the request of the County Executive.

Resolution to Create Biohealth Opportunity Zone Incentive Program Grants to Attract Biohealth Campuses in County Opportunity Zones

Vote expected: The Council is expected to vote on a resolution to create Biohealth Opportunity Zone Incentive Program grants to attract Biohealth Campuses to County Opportunity Zones. The grant program would provide $250,000 to any Biohealth Priority Campus, as defined in ZTA 21-09, that locates in a County Opportunity Zone upon its receipt of an occupancy permit.

The lead sponsors of the resolution are Councilmembers Friedson and Navarro. All other Council members are cosponsors.

Special Appropriation to the FY22 Operating Budget, Housing Opportunities Commission (HOC) Non-Departmental Account (NDA) – $3,000,000

Vote expected: The Council is expected to vote on a $3 million special appropriation for the Housing Opportunities Commission (HOC). According to HOC, which is the County’s public housing authority, the County has seen a significant loss of revenue as tenants are unable to pay rent and make up arrearages. This funding will assist in filling a portion of HOC’s revenue shortfall. HOC and its tenants may also receive rental assistance through other federal and state programs.

The lead sponsor is the Council President, at the request of the County Executive.

Special Appropriation to the County Government’s FY22 Operating Budget, DHHS – $224,956 for Newcomers Enhancements and Assistance

Vote expected: The Council is expected to vote on a $224,956 special appropriation to provide funds for enhancements and assistance to newly arriving migrant and asylum-seeking children and their families in the Washington metropolitan region as they flee violence and poverty in their home countries.

The Council appropriated funds in July 2022 to support this effort; however, DHHS found that additional funding is needed to address safety, human trafficking and emergency assistance needs. The Federal Office of Refugee Resettlement placed 1,231 unaccompanied children in federal fiscal year 2021 and 252 unaccompanied children during Oct. and Nov. of 2021 with sponsors in Montgomery County. DHHS, Montgomery County Public Schools and community partners are collaborating to provide a comprehensive system of supports.

The Chairs of the HHS and E&C Committee agreed that this special appropriation is consistent with the information provided to the Joint HHS and E&C Committeeat its Feb. 7 meeting and could be forwarded directly to Council without an additional Committee session.

The lead sponsor is the Council President, at the request of the County Executive.

Special Appropriation to the County Government’s FY22 Operating Budget, DHHS – $7,821,000 for FEMA Emergency Protective Measures Grant

Vote expected: The Council is expected to vote on a more than $7.8 million special appropriation for DHHS and the FEMA Emergency Protective Measures Grant, which is needed to support the administration of COVID-19 vaccinations. The grant is provided to the County through the Maryland Department of Health.

The lead sponsor is the Council President, at the request of the County Executive.

Executive Regulation 16-21, Sick Leave Amendments

Vote expected: The Council is expected to vote on Executive Regulation 16-21Sick Leave Amendments, which would implement changes to the MCGEO Collective Bargaining Agreement that were accepted by the Council for FY22 under Resolution No. 19-818 and that were accounted for in the FY22 operating budget.

The regulation would entitle a County employee, with at least ten years of service, to receive $5,000 if they are enrolled in the Retirement Savings Plan (RSP) or Guaranteed Retirement Investment Program (GRIP) and have a sick leave balance of at least 120 hours. In addition, an employee in the RSP or GRIP who leaves County service with at least 20 years of service and a sick leave balance of at least 240 hours would be entitled to receive $10,000. The FY22 operating budget allocated $110,000 for this purpose.

The lead sponsor is the Council President, at the request of the County Executive.

Executive Regulation 18-21, Water Quality Protection Charge, Definition of Treatment

Vote expected: The Council is expected to vote on Executive Regulation 18-21 – Water Quality Protection Charge, Definition of Treatment, which clarifies the terms treatment and treat, as they are currently utilized by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in determining the eligibility of properties for Water Quality Protection Charge credits.

A Water Quality Protection Charge credit process was established in 2013 with Bill 34-12. Credits are available for properties which contain a stormwater management system maintained exclusively by the property owner. If environmental site design (ESD) methods are used to the maximum extent practicable, then the maximum credit is 80 percent of the charge. Otherwise, properties can get credits of up to 60 percent of their Water Quality Protection Charge for stormwater treated on-site.

A property which does not have a stormwater management system is also eligible for credits if that property drains to a stormwater management system on another property under the same ownership. Non-residential and multi-family properties with stormwater management systems which treat stormwater from other properties are eligible to receive a credit of up to 100 percent of their Water Quality Protection Charge.

The T&E Committee met on Feb. 18 and recommends approval of Regulation 18-21.

Resolution to Affirm Montgomery County’s Support of Public Health Officials

Introduction: Lead sponsor Council Vice President Glass will introduce a resolution to affirm Montgomery County’s support of public health officials. State and local public health officers and other public health officials have endured harassment, insults and threats during the COVID-19 pandemic which has led to record numbers of public health officials, resigning, retiring or being fired. This treatment has also resulted in hesitation among individuals seeking to serve in these positions. This resolution supports Montgomery County’s public health officials and health decisions based on science and data.

Council Vice President Glass is the lead sponsor. All other Councilmembers are cosponsors. A vote is tentatively scheduled for March 22.

Supplemental Appropriation #22-56 to the FY22 Operating Budget Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) COVID-19 Emergency Response, $69,691,000

Public hearing: The Council will hold a public hearing on a more than $69.6 million supplemental appropriation to DHHS for COVID-19 pandemic emergency expenses and expenses related to the response to the Rock Creek flood. The pandemic requires the County to respond quickly to the public health needs of county residents as well as related emergency services, such as modifying procedures for emergency shelter.

DHHS has incurred costs that were not included in their FY22 approved budget, and a supplemental appropriation is required to recognize these expenditures. In addition to costs related to the pandemic, $100,000 is included in this supplemental for emergency response to the Rock Creek flood. The County is pursing FEMA reimbursement for all costs to the extent that those costs are eligible for reimbursement.

The lead sponsor is the Council President, at the request of the County Executive. A joint GO and HHS Committee meeting is tentatively scheduled for March 24 to review this supplemental appropriation.

Supplemental Appropriation to the County Government’s FY22 Operating Budget, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) – $13,900,000 for General Personnel and Operating Costs

Public hearing: The Council will hold a public hearing on a $13.9 million supplemental appropriation for the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS). This appropriation is needed to support general personnel and operating expenditures through the end of the year, as actual expenditures are expected to exceed the budget.

Personnel costs are projected to exceed the appropriation due to actual overtime costs being greater than budgeted. Operating expenses are projected to exceed the appropriation mainly due to vehicle maintenance and repair, snow removal, facilities maintenance, wireless communications and insurance.

The lead sponsor is the Council President, at the request of the County Executive. The Public Safety Committee is scheduled to meet on March 21 to review this supplemental appropriation.

Supplemental Appropriation to the County Government’s FY22 Capital Budget and Amendment to the FY21-26 Capital Improvements Program (CIP) – $602,651 for Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Planned Life Cycle Asset Replacement

Public hearing: The Council will hold a public hearing on a $602,651 FY22 Capital Budget supplemental appropriation and an amendment to the FY21-26 Capital Improvement Programs for Montgomery County Public Schools, which will fund eligible projects through the Aging Schools Program. The Board of Education’s request for the appropriation is a result of the Interagency Commission on School Construction’s $602,651 award for Montgomery County Public Schools.

A vote is scheduled for March 22.

Supplemental Appropriation to the County Government’s FY22 Operating Budget, Office of the County Executive – $45,528 to support the establishment of the Office of Grants Management

Public hearing: The Council will hold a public hearing on a $45,528 supplemental appropriation to support the establishment of the Office of Grants Management. The increase in funds will be used to hire a director position to prepare for implementation of Bill 36-19, which establishes the Office of Grants Management (OGM) in County Government at the start of FY23.

The lead sponsor is the Council President, at the request of the County Executive.

Economic Trends in Metropolitan Washington by Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments

Presentation: Council President Albornoz invited the Washington Council of Governments (COG) to present on the region’s economic trends as the Council begins its review of the FY23 Operating Budget. Paul DesJardin, director of the community planning and services for COG, will lead the presentation and discussion with the Council.

ZTA 22-02, Density and Height Limits, Parking – Biohealth

Introduction: Lead sponsor Councilmember Friedson will introduce ZTA 22-02, Density and Height Limits, Parking – Biohealth, which would allow additional height and increased flexibility in density for urban biohealth facilities in recognition of the unique mechanical challenges of biohealth buildings. ZTA 22-02 would also allow consolidation of certain facilities and provide parking provisions for Biohealth Priority Campuses. Councilmembers Hucker, Katz and Navarro and Council President Albornoz and Council Vice President Glass are cosponsors.

A public hearing is scheduled for May 10.

Bill 5-22, Economic Development Corporation – Board of Directors – Membership

Introduction: The Council is expected to introduce Bill 5-22, Economic Development Corporation – Board of Directors – Membership, which would alter and expand the membership of Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation’s Board of Directors. The legislation is needed because six MCEDC Board members are term limited and the organization is concerned about the loss of institutional knowledge

The legislation would allow some overlap for two new board members and allow the current chair to remain as a non-voting, ex-officio member to share knowledge with, and provide guidance to, the new board. In addition, the legislation will reflect past precedent by designating the CEO of Worksource Montgomery to the board. The Workforce Development Board has been sending the CEO of Worksource Montgomery to represent them at MCEDC. Bill 5-22 would codify this practice.

The lead sponsor is the Council President, at the request of the County Executive. A public hearing is scheduled for April 19, 2022.

Bill 6-22, Recreation – Montgomery County Sports Commission – Established

Introduction: Lead sponsor Council President Albornoz will introduce Bill 6-22, which would establish a 23-member Montgomery County Sports Commission, staffed by the Department of Recreation. The commission would study sports participation and opportunities in the County, make recommendations to the County Executive and the County Council, and recognize outstanding teams and athletes in the County.

A public hearing is scheduled for April 5.

Bill 46-21, Environmental Sustainability – Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy Program – Amendments

Vote expected: The Council is expected to vote on Bill 46-21 – Environmental Sustainability – Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy Program – Amendments, which would amend the County’s Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy Program (C-PACE) financing program to allow climate related improvements for eligible projects; establish 12-month retroactive financing for eligible C-PACE measures; create a five-year pilot for increased loan-to-value amounts for qualified properties; clarify new construction participation requirements; and remove the County designated lender from the County’s C-PACE program. The T&E Committee recommends enactment with amendments.

Those expected to attend and provide information include Lindsey Shaw, manager of energy and sustainability programs, DEP; David Crow, acting controller, Fiscal Projects Manager, Division of Fiscal Management; and Tom Deyo, CEO, Montgomery County Green Bank.

Bill 48-21, General Provision – County Symbols – County Tree – Established

Vote expected:  The Council is expected to vote on Bill 48-21, which would officially designate the black tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica) as the County tree. Nyssa sylvatica is also known as blackgum, sourgum, pepperidge, tupelo and tupelo-gum.

The lead sponsor is the Council President, at the request of the County Executive.

Release ID: 22-114
Media Contact: Sonya Healy, 240-777-7926 , Benjamin Sky Brandt 240-777-7884

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