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Press Releases - County Council

Council scheduled to vote on COVID-19 emergency relief package for local businesses and vulnerable residents and introduce and vote on special appropriation to support Montgomery County hospitals on March 31

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Also on March 31: Council will receive an update on County’s public health and safety measures related to COVID-19; scheduled to vote on bills for bicycle registration and restrictions on electronic cigarettes; hold public hearings and vote on supplemental appropriations to assist Covid-19 response

The Council will meet on Tuesday, March 31 at 9:30 a.m. Council staff reports for all items on the Council’s agenda can be found here.

In accordance with Gov. Hogan's March 30 executive order, the Council will meet remotely on Tuesday, March 31. There is no public access to the Council Office Building or the Council Hearing Room, until further notice.

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. Community members can also express their views by calling 240-777-7900.

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

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and County Public Health Planning
At 11:30 a.m. the Council will receive an update on the County’s efforts to protect public health and safety during the global COVID-19 pandemic. Those expected to provide information 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.

Special Appropriation to the Fiscal Year 2020 Operating Budget - Montgomery County Government: COVID-19 Hospital Response Non-Departmental Account (NDA) - $10,000,000
The Montgomery County Council will introduce and vote on a special appropriation of $10 million to support Montgomery County’s hospitals in order to meet the urgent health needs of residents related to the Covid-19 pandemic. Montgomery County’s hospitals are actively preparing for the surge of Covid-19 cases and are working to increase the number of hospital beds and critical care capacity. This must happen quickly, and hospitals need financial assistance to make emergency purchases and cover costs. As of March 30, the Maryland Department of Health reports 1,413 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Maryland with 341 of these cases occurring in Montgomery County.

The Council staff report can be viewed here by March 31.

Special Appropriation to the Fiscal Year 2020 Operating Budget; Montgomery County Government: COVID-19 Human Services and Community Assistance Non-Departmental Account - $6,000,000. Source of Funds: General Fund Reserves
The Council will introduce and vote on a special appropriation to the fiscal year 2020 Operating Budget to support nonprofit organizations and the Department of Health and Human Services in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. This special appropriation will provide $6 million; $5 million of which will be used for direct financial assistance to County residents and $1 million to be used by the Department of Health and Human Services to support safety net programs.

The Council staff report will be available here by March 31.

Expedited Bill 17-20, Carryout Bag Tax Suspension
The Council will introduce Bill 17-20, Carryout Bag Tax Suspension, which would suspend the collection of a bag tax and require that a retail establishment must not collect the tax until 30 days after the end of the state of emergency. Expedited Bill 17-20 is sponsored by Councilmember Will Jawando.

The Council staff report will be available here by March 31.

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

Expedited Bill 16-20, Economic Development Fund - Public Health Emergency Grant Program - Established
The Council will receive public testimony and vote on Bill 16-20, which would establish a Public Health Emergency Grant Program. This program would authorize grants to local for-profit or non-profit businesses that have their principal place of business in Montgomery County and employ 100 or fewer full-time equivalent employees. The maximum grant for financial losses due to a public health emergency, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, would be $75,000. This bill also would authorize the director of the Department of Finance to award mini-grants to an eligible for-profit or non-profit business up to $2,500 to reimburse the business for costs incurred to purchase technology equipment and software to facilitate employee teleworking during the public health emergency. The Montgomery County Council is the lead sponsor.

The Council staff report can be viewed here.

#COVID19EconomicRelief is being used for this bill on social media.

The Council is scheduled to vote on the following items:

Bill 2-20, Bicycles - Registration - Amendments
The Council is scheduled to vote on Bill 2-20, which would permit voluntary registration of a bicycle owned by a County resident for personal use. Council Vice President Tom Hucker and Councilmembers Will Jawando, Evan Glass and Hans Riemer are the lead sponsors. All other Councilmembers are cosponsors. Bill 2- 20 also would do the following:

  • require the registration of a bicycle provided for rent in the County;
  • repeal the authority to impound an unregistered bicycle owned by a County resident for personal use;
  • repeal the authority to deposit the proceeds from the sale of an impounded or abandoned bicycle in the Police Relief and Retirement Fund; and
  • generally amend the laws governing the use of a bicycle in the County.

The goal of this legislation is to eliminate a regulatory burden on residents who own bicycles.

The Council staff report can be viewed here.

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

Bill 29-19, Health and Sanitation - Electronic Cigarettes - Distribution, and Resolution to Adopt Bill 29-19 as a Board of Health Regulation
The Council is scheduled to vote on Bill 29-19 and a resolution to adopt Bill 29-19 as a Board of Health Regulation. Bill 29-19 would prohibit manufacturers of e-cigarettes from distributing them to retail stores within a half mile of a middle or high school through a Board of Health regulation. Councilmembers Gabe Albornoz and Craig Rice are the lead sponsors. All other Councilmembers are cosponsors. The goal of this legislation is to protect the health of young people and limit their ability to purchase nicotine vaping products. It is illegal for retailers to sell such products to Montgomery County residents under the age of 21, with the exemption of active duty service members over the age of 18.

The Council staff report can be viewed here.

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

Bill 31-19, Health and Sanitation - Electronic Cigarettes - Distribution, Use, and Possession, and Resolution to Adopt Bill 31-19 as a Board of Health Regulation
The Council is scheduled to vote on Bill 31-19 and a resolution to adopt Bill 31-19 as a Board of Health Regulation. Bill 31-19 would prohibit the distribution of any tobacco product, coupon redeemable for a tobacco product, cigarette rolling paper or electronic cigarette to any individual under 21 except under certain circumstances. Councilmembers Tom Hucker and Gabe Albornoz are the lead sponsors. Council President Sidney Katz and Councilmembers Craig Rice, Hans Riemer, Evan Glass, Will Jawando and Nancy Navarro are cosponsors. Bill 31-19 also would prohibit an individual under 21 from using or possessing a tobacco product or electronic cigarette except under certain circumstances. The goal of this legislation is to update County law to reflect state law changes and provide an enforcement mechanism for young people using and possessing tobacco products and electronic cigarettes.

The Council staff report can be viewed here.

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

Bill 32-19, Health and Sanitation - Flavored Electronic Cigarettes, and Resolution to Adopt Bill 32-19 as a Board of Health Regulation
The Council is scheduled to vote on Bill 32-19 and a resolution to adopt Bill 32-19 as a Board of Health Regulation. Bill 32-19 would prohibit electronic smoking device manufacturers from distributing flavored electronic cigarettes to retail stores within half a mile of any middle or high school, library, park, playground or recreational facility in the County. Councilmembers Hans Riemer and Gabe Albornoz are the lead sponsors. Council President Sidney Katz, Council Vice President Tom Hucker and Councilmembers Nancy Navarro, Will Jawando and Evan Glass are cosponsors. The goal of this legislation is to protect the health of young people and limit their ability to purchase nicotine vaping products.

The Council staff report can be viewed here.

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

Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 19-06, Vape Shops
The Council is scheduled to vote on ZTA 19-06, which would prohibit vape shops that sell e-cigarettes and similar products from opening within half a mile of a middle or high school. It also would prohibit vape shops from allowing access to people under 21 years of age. Councilmembers Gabe Albornoz and Craig Rice are the lead sponsors. All other Councilmembers are cosponsors. The goal of this ZTA is to protect the health of young people and limit their ability to purchase nicotine vaping products.

The Council staff report can be viewed here.

Forest Glen/Montgomery Hills Sector Plan
The Council is scheduled to vote on the Forest Glen/Montgomery Hills Sector Plan, which reevaluates land use and transportation strategies as part of the long-term visioning process for the area, including an analysis of existing traffic conditions, which will help inform the community and Planning Department staff as they make recommendations to improve transportation conditions. Casey Anderson, chair, Montgomery County Planning Board; and Gwen Wright, director, Montgomery Planning Department, are among those expected to provide information.

The Council staff report can be viewed here.

Local Zoning Map Amendment H-131
The Council will approve, disapprove or remand the hearing examiner’s recommendation to approve Local Zoning Map Amendment H-131. The Council must find that the proposal will meet the standards required by the zoning ordinance and that it will be consistent with the coordinated and systematic development of the regional district. In particular, the application must 1) substantially conform with the recommendations of the applicable master plan and further the master plan’s goals; 2) further the public interest; and 3) satisfy the intent and standards of the proposed zone. The Planning Board, planning staff and hearing examiner recommend approval.

The Council staff report can be viewed here.

The Council is scheduled to hold the following public hearings at 1:30 p.m.:

Special Appropriation to MCPS’ FY20 Capital Budget and Amendment to the FY19-24 CIP - $6,000,000 for Relocatable Classrooms
The Council will be accepting public testimony on a special appropriation to Montgomery County Public Schools’ (MCPS) Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) Capital Budget of $6,000,000 for relocatable classrooms. These funds will be used for the leasing, purchase, movement and rehabilitation of relocatable classrooms needed for the 2020-21 school year. The Council staff report can be viewed here.

Bill 10-20, Property Tax Credit - Energy and Environmental Design - Eligibility Criteria and Amounts of Credit
The Council will be accepting public testimony on Bill 10-20, which would alter the eligibility criteria for the property tax credit for energy and environmental design, is scheduled for introduction. Councilmembers Andrew Friedson and Hans Riemer are the lead sponsors. Council President Sidney Katz is a cosponsor. Bill 10-20 also would alter the amounts and duration of the property tax credit for energy and environmental design by type of building; and alter annual limits on the total amounts of property tax credits granted by the County for energy and environmental design. The Council staff report can be viewed here.

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

Special Appropriation to County Government’s FY20 Operating Budget, Department of Health and Human Services, Support for COVID-19 Response - Feeding Our Families - $260,000 for Manna Food Center; and Amendment to Resolution 19-128, Section G, Non-Competitive Contract Award: Manna Food Center
The Council will be accepting public testimony and vote on a special appropriation to the Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS) FY20 Operating Budget of $260,000 for Manna Food Center. Councilmember Craig Rice is the lead sponsor. Council President Sidney Katz and Councilmembers Hans Riemer, Gabe Albornoz, Gabe Albornoz, Will Jawando, Evan Glass and Nancy Navarro are cosponsors. Manna Food Center is a partner with MCPS in providing food to food-insecure students. Manna Food Center estimates that it needs $260,000 to increase capacity in its Food for Families and Smart Snacks/Stay Put Sacks while schools are closed in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. The Council staff report can be viewed here.

Special Appropriation to County Government’s FY20 Operating Budget, Conference and Visitors Bureau Non-Departmental Account, Support for COVID-19 Response - $250,000 for Hotel or Motel Rooms for Medical and Front-Line Staff; and Amendment to Resolution 19-128, Section G, Non-Competitive Contract Award: Conference and Visitors’ Bureau of Montgomery County, Maryland, Inc.
The Council will be accepting public testimony and vote on a special appropriation to the County government’s FY20 Operating Budget of $250,000 for hotel or motel rooms for medical and front-line staff. Councilmember Hans Riemer is the lead sponsor. Council President Sidney Katz and Councilmembers Gabe Albornoz, Nancy Navarro, Andrew Friedson, Evan Glass, Will Jawando and Craig Rice are cosponsors. The Conference and Visitors’ Bureau will work with hotel and motel operators to provide lodging at greatly reduced costs to critical front-line personnel in the fight against the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19. The Council staff report can be viewed here.

Special Appropriation to County Government’s FY20 Operating Budget, Department of Finance, Economic Development Fund - $20,000,000 for Public Health Emergency Grant Program
The Council will be accepting public testimony and vote on a special appropriation to the Department of Finance’s FY20 Operating Budget of $20,000,000 for the Public Health Emergency Grant Program. This special appropriation is needed to provide funding for the Public Health Emergency Grant Program. The County will seek reimbursement from the federal and state government for any eligible costs. The Council staff report can be viewed here.


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Release ID: 20-120
Media Contact: Sonya Healy 240-777-7926 , Juan Jovel 240-777-7931