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Press Releases - County Council

Council to introduce COVID-19 emergency relief package for local businesses and vulnerable residents and resolution calling for immediate spending restraint not associated with response and recovery efforts on March 24

For Immediate Release: Monday, March 23, 2020

Also on March 24: Council will receive an update on County’s public health and safety measures related to COVID-19

The Council will meet on Tuesday, March 24 at 12:30 p.m. Council staff reports for all items on the Council’s agenda can be found here.

At Tuesday’s Council meeting, on the guidance of our Health Officer and Chief of Public Health Services Dr. Travis Gayles, some Councilmembers will participate in the meeting by connecting remotely. The Council also is practicing social distancing, using hand sanitizer, and keeping the number of individuals in the Council Hearing Room to less than 10 to comply with Governor Hogan’s executive order.

There continues to be no public access to the Council Office Building. Exceptions will be made for members of the media and members of county government and outside agencies. Similar policies were implemented by the Maryland General Assembly and the U.S. Congress, as all levels of government are dealing with the response to COVID-19.

Public hearing testimony received on legislation, supplemental appropriations, budget items or land use issues will be acknowledged on the record during the Council meeting. In addition, residents are encouraged to continue participating in the local legislative process by engaging with the Council on social media, sending emails to County.Council@montgomerycountymd.gov or letters to the County Council at 100 Md. Ave., Rockville, Md. 20850. Residents also can deliver any written documents to the Council Office Building at its second floor entrance which is located at the top of the path from the Council’s parking garage next to the fish pond. Community members can also express their views by calling 240-777-7900.

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update
The Council, sitting as the Board of Health, will receive an update on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the County’s efforts to protect public health and safety. COVID-19 is a disease caused by a respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in December 2019. COVID-19 is a new virus that hasn't caused illness in humans before. Worldwide, COVID-19 has resulted in thousands of infections, causing illness and in some cases death. Cases have spread to countries throughout the world, with more cases reported daily. Those expected to attend the meeting include the following: Dr. Travis Gayles, county health officer and chief of the Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS) Public Health Services; Dr. Earl Stoddard, director of the Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security; and Dr. Raymond Crowel, director, DHHS.

The Council staff report can be viewed here.

Resolution calling for immediate spending restraint on operating budget items not associated with COVID-19 emergency response or economic recovery efforts
The Council is scheduled to introduce and vote on a resolution, spearheaded by Councilmember Nancy Navarro, calling for the Council to exercise immediate spending restraint for operating budget items unrelated to the public health and safety needs associated with the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic or the economic recovery efforts associated with the world-wide pandemic that has severely impacted the lives of county residents and businesses. Councilmembers Andrew Friedson, Gabe Albornoz, Craig Rice, Hans Riemer and Council Vice President Tom Hucker are cosponsoring Councilmember Navarro’s resolution.

The budget resolution calls for Council staff to prepare budget options for funding that would maintain the same level of service for Montgomery County departments as approved by the Council for fiscal year 2020. It also recommends maintenance of effort funding levels for Montgomery County Public Schools and Montgomery College. Finally, the resolution provides flexibility to the Council to reevaluate resources and spending after the COVID-19 pandemic concludes. Residents are encouraged to use #Emergency2021BudgetAction for this Council agenda item on social media.

The Council staff report will be available here by March 24.

Resolution to Support the Community Reinvestment Act
The Council is scheduled to introduce and vote on a resolution to support the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), which is a landmark civil rights law enacted on Oct. 12, 1977 to end the practice of “redlining,” in which financial institutions would draw a red line on a map around the neighborhoods to which they did not want to offer financial services. Before the enactment of the CRA, redlining made it nearly impossible for low- and moderate-income Americans, racial and ethnic minorities, and their neighborhoods to access credit services, such as mortgages and business loans, regardless of their qualifications or creditworthiness. Councilmember Will Jawando is the lead sponsor. Council President Sidney Katz, Council Vice President Tom Hucker and Councilmembers Gabe Albornoz, Andrew Friedson, Evan Glass and Nancy Navarro are cosponsors.

The Council staff report can be viewed here.

Bill 16-20, the COVID-19 Economic Relief Act
The Council is scheduled to introduce Bill 16-20, the COVID-19 Economic Relief Act, which would create an emergency grant program to provide funding for local business and nonprofits impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic. Supplemental appropriations will also be introduced to provide funding for programs aimed at supporting vulnerable residents. All nine Councilmembers are sponsoring Bill 16-20.

The Public Health Emergency Grant Program will enable the County Executive to provide grant funding to small businesses and nonprofits that can demonstrate they’ve suffered financial distress as a result of the mandated closures the County and State of Maryland have put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19. The Council plans to approve the legislation and special appropriations on an emergency basis at its March 31 meeting.

Full text of Bill 16-20, the COVID-19 Economic Relief Act, can be found here.
Information on the supplemental appropriations will be posted by March 24 here.

Bill 14-20, Human Rights and Civil Liberties – Discriminatory Employment Practices – Workplace Harassment
The Council is scheduled to introduce Bill 14-20, which would define and prohibit certain discriminatory practices in the workplace. Councilmember Will Jawando is the lead sponsor. Councilmember Nancy Navarro is a cosponsor. Bill 14-20 would define and prohibit discriminatory harassment and sexual harassment by employers in the County. The bill would alter the level of harassing conduct that constitutes an employment discrimination claim under County law. Harassment would not need to raise to the level of being “severe or pervasive” to be actionable; the harassment would be actionable as long as it was “more than a petty slight, trivial inconvenience, or minor annoyance.”

The goal of this legislation is to help ensure that employees do not face workplace harassment, including sexual harassment. A public hearing on this bill is tentatively scheduled for April 14 at 1:30 p.m.

The Council staff report can be viewed here.

#StopSexualHarrassment is being used for this bill on social media.

Bill 38-19, Streets and Roads – Permit to Obstruct Public Rights-of-Way – Amendments
The Council is scheduled to vote on Bill 38-19, which would require the County Executive to adopt certain regulations regarding permits to close curb lanes, sidewalks or shared use paths in the public rights-of-way. Councilmember Andrew Friedson is the lead sponsor. Councilmembers Evan Glass, Will Jawando, Hans Riemer and Gabe Albornoz, Council Vice President Tom Hucker, Councilmember Craig Rice and Council President Sidney Katz are cosponsors. Bill 38-19 also would do the following: limit the circumstances in which the Department of Permitting Services (DPS) may grant or extend a permit to close a curb lane, sidewalk or shared use path; and require the director of DPS to publish certain information regarding permits to close curb lanes, sidewalks or shared use paths. The goal of this legislation is to assure pedestrian safety, minimize inconvenience to the public related to sidewalk closures and increase transparency about permits to close sidewalks.

The Council staff report can be viewed here.

#RightOfWayPermit is being used for this bill on social media.

The Council is scheduled to hold the following public hearings at 1:30 p.m. and vote following the conclusion of each respective public hearing.

Supplemental Appropriation to the County Government’s Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) Operating Budget, Dept. of Finance - $3,500,000 for Economic Development Fund
The Council is scheduled to hold a public hearing and vote on a supplemental appropriation of $3,500,00 to the Department of Finance’s FY20 Operating Budget for the Economic Development Fund. The County Executive has requested a supplemental appropriation totaling $3.5 million to support the County’s Economic Development Fund (EDF) agreement with Federal Realty Investment Trust for the construction of a new office building in White Flint. The County’s grant will total $5 million: an initial installment of $3.5 million and annual disbursements of $250,000 for six years. The Council previously supported the use of the EDF in 2018. The Council staff report can be viewed here.

Supplemental Appropriation to the County Government’s FY20 Operating Budget, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) - $358,331 to Increase Somatic and Mental Health Services at Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS)
The Council is scheduled to hold a public hearing and vote on a supplemental appropriation of $358,331 to DHHS’ FY20 operating budget to increase somatic and mental health services at Montgomery County Public Schools. MCPS received this funding from the Maryland State Department of Education for the Concentration of Poverty School Grant program. MCPS is collaborating with DHHS to increase somatic and mental health services to support students and families. The Council staff report can be viewed here.

Supplemental Appropriation to the County Government’s FY20 Operating Budget, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) - $300,000 for Kresge Foundation Integrating Health and Human Services: System for Equitable and Thriving Communities
The Council is scheduled to hold a public hearing and vote on a supplemental appropriation of $300,000 to DHHS’ FY20 operating budget for Kresge Foundation Integrating Health and Human Services: System for Equitable and Thriving Communities. The Kresge Foundation has awarded DHHS $300,000 over four years to enhance service integration efforts. The Council staff report can be viewed here.

Supplemental Appropriation to the County Government’s FY20 Operating Budget, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service - $1,962,542 for Senator Amoss Fire, Rescue and Ambulance Fund
The Council is scheduled to hold a public hearing and vote on a supplemental appropriation of $1,962,542 for the Senator Amoss Fire, Rescue and Ambulance Fund. This supplemental appropriation is needed to authorize expenditures of $1,962,542 that will fund acquisition of apparatus and capital equipment, as well as the renovation of facilities used to house apparatus. The source of the funds is a state grant. The Council staff report can be viewed here.

Supplemental Appropriation to Montgomery County Public Schools’ (MCPS) FY20 Capital Budget - $367,850 for HVAC Replacement Project
The Council is scheduled to hold a public hearing and vote on a supplemental appropriation of $367,850 to MCPS’ FY20 Capital Budget for HVAC replacement. The Board of Education requested this supplemental appropriation and CIP amendment on January 9. The County Executive recommended approval on February 4. The Council staff report can be viewed here.

Residents can watch Council meetings on County Cable Montgomery (Xfinity/RCN Channel 6 or in HD on 996/1056 or on Fios Channel 30) or on the Council’s web page or Facebook Live.

Social Media:
Facebook @MontgomeryCountyMdCouncil or @ConcejodelCondadodeMontgomery (en Español)
Twitter: @MoCoCouncilMD
YouTube: @MoCoCouncilMD
Instagram: MoCoCouncilMD



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Release ID: 20-105
Media Contact: Sonya Healy 240-777-7926 , Juan Jovel 240-777-7931