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Press Releases - County Council

Council to introduce a Board of Health regulation to require free, Countywide Covid-19 testing, special appropriation to support housing for veterans and individuals experiencing homelessness and resolution to replace official state song, at virtual meeti

For Immediate Release: Monday, July 13, 2020

Council also will receive an update on Covid-19 public health planning and recovery and receive briefing on fiscal year 2021 revenues

The Council will meet virtually on Tuesday, July 14 at 9 a.m. 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 meeting schedule may change from time to time. The current Council agendas can be viewed at: http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/COUNCIL/ondemand/index.html.

On the guidance of Health Officer and Chief of Public Health Services Dr. Travis Gayles, there is currently no public access to the Council Office Building. The virtual Council meeting 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 and Fios 30.

Council Agenda Items

Policing Advisory Commission Interviews
The Council will hold interviews for the Policing Advisory Commission on July 14 at 7 p.m., July 15 at 4:30 p.m. and July 17 at 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. The goals of the Commission are to improve oversight of the Montgomery County Police Department and strengthen community trust in police. Commission members will provide advice on policing matters, provide information about best practices and recommend new policies and programs. The Commission will consist of 13 public members. More information can be viewed here.

Resolution to Support the Renaming of the Washington Redskins
The Council will introduce a resolution supporting Daniel Snyder’s decision to change the name of his football team. The Council urges Snyder to select a new name and logo that respects everyone. A Council vote is scheduled for July 21.

The resolution can be viewed here.

Resolution to Urge the Maryland state lawmakers to change “Maryland, My Maryland” as the state song and discourage its use at official Montgomery County events
On July 14, the Council will introduce a resolution calling on the Maryland General Assembly to replace the state song “Maryland, My Maryland” and discourage its use at official Montgomery County events including public school events and graduations. Many Maryland residents, including those who live in Montgomery County, identify the official state song as a symbol of the Confederacy. All members of the Council are sponsoring this resolution which was initiated by Councilmember Evan Glass and co-led with Councilmembers Gabe Albornoz, Will Jawando, Hans Riemer and Council President Sidney Katz.

The lyrics of "Maryland, My Maryland" are from a nine-stanza poem written in 1861 by Confederacy-supporter James Ryder Randall and set to the melody of “Lauriger Horatius," which is otherwise known as "O Tannenbaum." The words call for Marylanders to fight against the U.S. and was used across the Confederacy as a battle hymn.

The Council staff report can be viewed here.

Special Appropriation to Montgomery County Public Schools' FY21 Operating Budget - $250,000 for Mental Health Program and Support Schools
The Council will introduce a $250,000 special appropriation to fund mental health supports in Montgomery County Public Schools. On June 18, Councilmembers Craig Rice and Gabe Albornoz sent a letter to Superintendent Jack Smith requesting that MCPS examine funding and programmatic options to increase mental health services to students as it works on the 2020 school year recovery plan. The Board of Education requested this appropriation on June 29. As part of its approved fiscal year 2021 budget, MCPS plans to implement a pilot program to provide mental health services to identified students. MCPS is planning a service model in which school-based staff members, including school counselors and psychologists, may refer students who require additional mental health services to a community agency with which MCPS has an established partnership. MCPS anticipates providing these services at no cost to students. The funding from the special appropriation will be used to expand the planned pilot program and double the number of estimated students who will receive services from 270 to 540. A public hearing is scheduled for July 21 at 1:30 p.m.

The Council staff report can be viewed here.

Special Appropriation to the County Government's FY21 Operating Budget, Department of Police, Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and Sheriff's Office - FY20 Bureau of Justice Assistance $431,707 for Byrne Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Grant Funding
The Council is introducing this special appropriation at the request of the County Executive. It includes $252,318 for the Montgomery County Police Department, $106,950 for the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and $72,493 for the Sheriff's Office for the FY20 Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) Byrne Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Grant Funding. This appropriation will fund personal protective equipment, building and vehicle disinfectants, laptops for remote work and warehouse equipment/logistical management software to enable the efficient storage of supplies. A public hearing and Council vote is scheduled for July 28.

The Council staff report can be viewed here.

Resolution to Approve the FY21 Schedule of Revenue Estimates and Appropriations
The Council will introduce a resolution to approve the fiscal year 2021 Schedule of Revenue Estimates and Appropriations for the operating budget, including current revenue for the Capital Improvements Program, as of May 19, 2020, which was the date when the Council approved County's budget. This resolution was not approved during the budget because of the time required by the Office of Management and Budget staff to prepare it based on the Council's final decisions. A Council vote is scheduled for July 21.

The Council staff report can be viewed here.

Special Appropriation to the County Government's FY21 Operating Budget, Department of Health and Human Services - $592,202 for Mobile Crisis Response
The Council will vote on a special appropriation of $592,202 to the FY21 operating budget of the County’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to expand mobile crisis response services. DHHS operates the Crisis Center and staffs one Mobile Crisis Team, which is based in Rockville. The Mobile Crisis Team is a two-person team that responds to calls made directly to the Crisis Center and when the police request their assistance as a part of a police response. Currently, the Mobile Crisis Team can only respond to one call at any time. While work on scaling up this response model is underway, the need has been identified for additional licensed social workers in DHHS to lead additional Mobile Crisis Teams. This special appropriation would fund six social worker positions, so that the hiring process may begin to expand these response teams. The funding includes bilingual pay and it is critical that these positions include those who can serve residents for whom English is not their primary language. The full Council is sponsoring this appropriation.

The Council staff report will be available here by July 14.

Resolution to Petition the State for Grants for Montgomery College's FY21 Capital Budget - $1,742,000 for Construction of the Takoma Park/Silver Spring Math and Science Center Project
The Council will vote on a resolution to petition the state for grants for Montgomery College's fiscal year 2021 capital budget for the construction of the Takoma Park/Silver Spring Math and Science Center Project. The Montgomery College Board of Trustees requested this petition on June 22. The fiscal year capital budget appropriation for Montgomery College assumed state funding in the amount of $1,742,000 for construction of the Math and Science Center Project.

The Council staff report can be viewed here.

Resolution to place an amendment to Section 305 of the County Charter on the 2020 general election ballot
The Council will introduce a resolution to place a question on the 2020 general election ballot to amend County Charter Section 305. The proposed amendment would prohibit the Council from adopting an average weighted tax rate (per $100 on assessed value) on real property that exceeds the average weighted tax rate (per $100 on assessed value) on real property approved for the previous year, unless all current Councilmembers vote for the increase. If this proposed Charter amendment is approved by the voters, the Council would need a unanimous affirmative vote to raise the average weighted tax rate on real property above the current rate of $0.9785 per $100 of assessed value. The lead sponsors of the measure are Councilmembers Andrew Friedson, Council President Sidney Katz and Councilmember Nancy Navarro. The cosponsors include Councilmembers Gabe Albornoz, Craig Rice and Hans Riemer. A public hearing is scheduled for July 21 at 7:30 p.m.

The Council staff report can be viewed here.

The hashtag #PropertyTaxLimit is being used on social media.

Resolution from the County Executive to place an amendment to Section 305 of the County Charter on the 2020 general election ballot
At the request of the County Executive, Council President Katz will introduce a resolution from the County Executive to amend Section 305 of the County Charter to:

  1. limit the annual increase in the taxable value of owner-occupied residential property to not more than three percent, even though current law permits an increase of up to ten percent; and
  2. prohibit the County Council from levying a tax rate on real property greater than the tax rate on real property in the prior fiscal year unless at least two-thirds (6) of the Councilmembers vote affirmatively for the increase.

This amendment would replace the current property tax limit, which requires an affirmative vote of all current Councilmembers to levy a tax on real property that would produce total revenue (not including property tax revenue from certain enumerated sources) that exceeds the total revenue produced by the tax on real property in the preceding fiscal year plus a percentage of the previous year’s real property tax revenues that equals any increase in the Consumer Price Index.

The Council staff report and resolution will be available here.

Special Appropriation to the County Government's FY21 Capital Budget and Amendment to the FY21-26 Capital Improvements Program, Department of Recreation - $218,000 for Public Arts Trust
The Council will introduce a $218,000 special appropriation to increase the funding level for the Public Arts Trust. On June 8, during a discussion on specific arts sector relief programs to mitigate the impact of the pandemic and proactively spur recovery efforts to catalyze the County’s economy, the Education and Culture Committee recommended increasing the funding level of the Public Arts Trust to align arts sector relief efforts with the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Department’s Thrive Montgomery 2050 goals for Design, Arts & Culture. A public hearing and Council vote is scheduled for Sept. 15 at 1:30 pm.

The Council staff report can be viewed here.

Special Appropriation to the County Government's FY21 Capital Budget and Amendment to the FY21-26 Capital Improvements Program, Department of Recreation - $250,000 for Cost Sharing
The Council will introduce a $250,000 special appropriation for the arts capital projects cost sharing. On June 11, the Education and Culture and Health and Human Services Committees recommended increasing overall funding for arts capital projects and deferring funding over three fiscal years to arts and humanities organizations. A public hearing and Council vote is scheduled for Sept. 15 at 1:30 pm.

The Council staff report can be viewed here.

Supplemental Appropriation to the County Government’s FY21 Operating Budget, Office of the County Executive - $550,000 to support a Police audit, Fire and Rescue Service audit, and consulting funds for community engagement support
The Council will introduce a $550,000 supplemental appropriation to support separate audits for the Montgomery County Police Department and the Fire and Rescue Service and consulting funds for community engagement support. The purpose of these activities is to support the County's commitment to reimagine public safety with a focus on racial equity and social justice. A public hearing is scheduled for July 21 at 1:30 p.m.

The Council staff report can be viewed here.

Supplemental Appropriation to the County Government’s FY21 Operating Budget, Office of Racial Equity and Social Justice - $260,961 for staffing and operating expenses
The Council will introduce a $260,961 supplement appropriation for staffing and operating expenses for the Office of Racial Equity and Social Justice. This funding is needed to help implement the County's Racial Equity and Social Justice Act by funding expenditures associated with staffing and operating the Office of Racial Equity and Social Justice. The funding is needed to support training for departmental staff, assist departments with policy examinations of their processes and procedures and to track and address each department's racial equity action plans and racial equity and social justice impact statements. A public hearing is scheduled for July 28 at 1:30 p.m.

The Council staff report can be viewed here.

Special Appropriation to the County Government’s FY21 Operating Budget, COVID-19 Human Services and Community Assistance NDA - $2,025,000 for Short-Term Assistance to Distressed, Affordable Common Ownership Communities
The Council will introduce a $2,025,000 special appropriation to provide short-term assistance to distressed, affordable common ownership communities. These funds must be used by the Department of Housing and Community Affairs to implement a short-term assistance program for affordable Common Ownership Communities that are in financial distress because of revenue loss since the onset of the public health emergency declaration for Covid-19. Common Ownership Community associations are responsible for paying the common costs for all housing in their communities. If the loss of revenue to the association impacts its ability to pay utility bills and other essential costs, the housing of all in the community will be in danger from utility cut-offs or code enforcement violations. The full Council is sponsoring this special appropriation. A public hearing is scheduled for July 21 at 1:30 p.m.

The Council staff report can be viewed here.

Special Appropriation to the County Government’s FY21 Operating Budget, Department of Health and Human Services - $355,000 for Permanent Supportive Housing for Veterans and Unsheltered Adults
The Council will introduce a $355,000 special appropriation for permanent supportive housing for veterans and unsheltered adults. Montgomery County estimates that there are about 100 single adults, who are unsheltered or living in emergency shelters, who could leave homelessness if more permanent supportive housing is available. Bethesda Cares, one of the County’s non-profit members of the Continuum of Care, has proposed a partnership with the County to house 14 unsheltered adults. Bethesda Cares will provide an estimated $158,200 to support program components that include master leasing of apartments, furniture for move-in, meals and groceries and virtual healthcare in partnership with Kaiser Permanente. The County will fund long-term, permanent supportive housing for those entering through the Bethesda Cares’ effort. The Health and Human Services Committee is the sponsor of this special appropriation. A public hearing is scheduled for July 28 at 1:30 pm.

The Council staff report can be viewed here.

County Executive Recommended FY21 Savings Plan - Amendments to the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission’s (M-NCPPC) FY21-26 Capital Improvements Program
On July 6, the County Executive transmitted a revised spending plan for fiscal year 2020 which includes changes to the FY21 Operating Budget as well as ten amendments to County Government projects in the FY21-26 Capital Improvements Program (CIP). In addition to the County Executive’s requested six percent operating budget reduction, he has requested a $628,000 reduction in the Capital Improvements Program for M-NCPPC. In response, M-NCPPC’s proposed $100,000 implementation delay in the Ovid Hazen Wells project and a reduction in several level of effort projects totaling $528,000. These reductions achieve the target savings requested by the County Executive while still retaining an increase in the appropriation over the prior CIP for each level of effort project impacted. A public hearing is scheduled for Sept. 15.

The Council staff report can be viewed here.

Discussion of FY21 Revenues
The Council will discuss the latest information on fiscal year 2021 revenues based on the economic impact of the global pandemic. The update will focus on estimated tax revenues and will not include any revisions to the County's fiscal year 2021 expenditures, state aid or federal grants. The Council approved the County's fiscal year 2021 Operating Budget on May 19, which included tax revenue estimates based on the Executive's March 2020 recommended budget. The most current information shows FY20 tax revenue estimates $47.69 million lower than budgeted. Moreover, FY21 tax revenue estimates are $191.95 million lower than the approved budget, and approximately 62 percent of this reduction is due to a decrease from the County's income taxes. The FY21 property tax estimates are mostly unchanged compared to the approved budget. To put these numbers in context, actual tax revenues decreased by $188.18 million in FY10 and FY11 combined because of the Great Recession of 2007.

The Council staff report can be viewed here.

Novel Coronavirus and County Public Health Planning Update
The Council will sit as the Board of Health to get an update on the County's ongoing response to the Covid-19 pandemic and its recovery efforts. Those expected to attend the meeting include: Dr. Travis Gayles, County health officer and chief of the Department of Health and Human Services' Public Health Services; Dr. Earl Stoddard, director, Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security; and Dr. Raymond Crowel, director, Department of Health and Human Services.

The Council staff report can be viewed here.

Resolution to adopt Board of Health Regulation requiring enhanced testing strategy for Covid-19
The Council, sitting as the Board of Health, is scheduled to introduce a Board of Health regulation requiring the County Executive to immediately implement a comprehensive strategy for “free, no appointment, no referral, walk-up testing,” at sites available County-wide. The regulation is sponsored the full Council. The goal of this regulation is to help stop the spread of Covid-19 though testing and aggressive contact tracing. Among other provisions, the regulation requires the Executive to first implement enhanced testing at locations within walking distance of targeted communities experiencing higher transmission or at risk of higher transmission. A public hearing and Council vote is scheduled for July 21 at 1:30 p.m.

The Council staff report can be viewed here.

Interviews for the Montgomery County Planning Board
At 2:15 p.m. the Council is scheduled to complete its interviews for the Montgomery County Planning Board. The Council received 10 applications to fill the upcoming vacancy on the Planning Board. Four applicants were selected to be interviewed by the Council: Gerald Cichy, Anthony Falcone, Justin Malcom and Roberto Pinero. The Council staff report can be viewed here.

Public hearings
All Council public hearings will be held virtually on Tuesday, July 14 at 1:30 p.m.:

Resolution to authorize Montgomery County to procure lines of credit for the purpose of providing funds for the payment of operating expenses
The Executive is requesting that the Council authorize the Department of Finance to procure up to $300 million in lines of credit to cover operating expenses. These lines of credit will provide additional coverage should the timing of certain tax receipts not align with the ongoing operational expenses of the County in fiscal year 2021. The Government Operations and Fiscal Policy Committee is scheduled to review this matter on July 20. The Council staff report can be found here.

Special appropriation - Department of Health and Human Services - $371,761 for support payment to organizations directly serving developmentally disabled persons
The Council will hold a public hearing on a special appropriation of $371,761 to the County’s Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS) fiscal year 2021 (FY21) operating budget for support payments to organizations serving developmentally disabled persons. As a part of its approval of the FY21 operating budget for the Montgomery County government, the Council appropriated $17.6 million to provide support payments to eligible organizations that provide direct services to people with developmental disabilities, including residential and community supported living arrangements, day habilitation and other necessary support services. This special appropriation will bring the total appropriation to the continuity of service level that accounts for the inclusion of six new organizations. Councilmembers Gabe Albornoz, Evan Glass and Craig Rice are the lead sponsors. The Council’s Health and Human Services (HHS) Committee recommends approval. The Council staff report can be found here.

Special appropriation - $3 million for Covid-19 Human Services and Community Assistance Non-Departmental Account for Assistance to Community Clinics, Medical and Dental Practices
The Council will hold a public hearing on a $3 million special appropriation to the Human Services and Community Assistance NDA’s FY21 operating budget for assistance to community clinics and primary care medical and dental practices that serve County residents. The Covid-19 health emergency required medical and dental practices, including community clinics, to stop non-emergency, in-person visits which has put a financial strain on many providers. In addition, many primary care health providers have incurred additional expenses associated with transitioning to telemedicine and to acquire personal protective equipment. The full Council is the sponsoring this appropriation. The Council staff report can be found here.

Special appropriation - Department of Housing and Community Affairs - $4,847,976 for Emergency Solutions Grant Covid-19
The Council will hold a public hearing and vote on a special appropriation of $4,847,976 to the FY21 operating budget of DHCA for a Covid-19 emergency solutions grant. Moving people out of homelessness is a priority strategy to address Covid-19 because housing is essential to health. The federal government has awarded additional Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) funding in response to the emergency as a part of the CARES Act. Council President Sidney Katz is the lead sponsor, at the request of the County Executive. The Council staff report can be found here.

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Release ID: 20-295
Media Contact: Sonya Healy 240-777-7926 , Juan Jovel 240-777-7931