The Council Connection — welcoming the 19th Council
This will be my final newsletter of 2018 as your Council President. On behalf of my Council office team, we would like to thank you for your positive feedback as we seek to improve how we reach out to our communities. And we are going to keep it up–more to come on that soon!
I am also glad to share that some of the changes that were a high priority for me as Council President, such as a “subscribe tool” for residents to get updates on specific Council items, or the use of hashtags to extend our communications stream to the world of social media, will continue on into the future.
Thank you for your participation!
The 19th Council and election of new officers
Today, the 19th Council was seated. Incoming Councilmembers Andrew Friedson (District 1), Will Jawando (At-large), Gabe Albornoz (At-large), and Evan Glass (At-large) join returning Councilmembers Hans Riemer (At-large), Sidney Katz (District 3), Craig Rice (District 2), Nancy Navarro (District 4), and Tom Hucker (District 5).
The 19th Council elected Councilmember Nancy Navarro as the new Council President and Councilmember Sidney Katz as Council Vice President. The Council will be well-served by their leadership. Council President Navarro also announced committee assignments for the 19th Council. See below for details.
Planning, Housing, and Economic Development (PHED) Committee
Hans Riemer, Chair
Transportation & Environment (T&E) Committee
Tom Hucker, Chair
Government Operations & Fiscal Policy (GO) Committee
Nancy Navarro, Chair
Health & Human Services (HHS) Committee
Gabe Albornoz, Chair
Education & Culture (EC) Committee
Craig Rice, Chair
Public Safety (PS) Committee
Sidney Katz, Chair
Montgomery County Council’s Top Ten 2018 Accomplishments
By Council President Hans Riemer
Finally, here is my list of the Council’s top ten accomplishments during my year-long term as Council president, a position for which I am grateful to my colleagues for electing me.
10. Convened the Council’s first emergency session to respond to the GOP Congress’ Tax Act, passing legislation to allow County residents to prepay 2018 property taxes in 2017 and maximize their State and Local Tax deductions.
9. Approved funds to support organizations that provide legal assistance to county residents who are in deportation proceedings. Grants have been provided to Kids In Need of Defense, which helps children that have been separated from their families, as well as HIAS and other groups.
8. Funded a revised stormwater infrastructure program that will ensure efficiency and affordability while maximizing environmental benefits. Negotiated a solution to overcome an executive veto. Also approved a ten year update to the County’s Water and Sewer Plan.
7. Supported the County’s bid for Amazon HQ2, including a zoning plan to streamline the process for corporate headquarters to locate in the County.
6. Approved a zoning change for the Agricultural Reserve in the County enabling business owners there to operate wineries, breweries, distilleries and cideries.
5. Adopted a visionary Bicycle Master Plan to guide the future of biking infrastructure in the county; and added funding for a Bethesda protected bike lane loop, in addition to the Silver Spring protected bike loop under construction.
4. Approved a zoning change to support additional wireless infrastructure (4g leading to 5g) in downtown and commercial areas (consideration continues on residential areas).
3. Supported major capital investment in WMATA. Locally funded new pedestrian access entrances for White Flint and Forest Glen Metros. Successfully advocated to expand rush hour service from Grosvenor to Shady Grove; similar expansion on Glenmont side is under study by WMATA.
2. Enacted legislation to increase affordable housing in the County by increasing the minimum percentage of Moderately Priced Housing Units (MPDUs) that are required to be built in new residential developments from 12.5 to 15 percent in high income areas of the county. Modernized the MPDU ordinance generally and established a clear MPDU incentive structure for bonus density.
1. Approved a $5.6 billion Fiscal Year 2019 Operating Budget without raising taxes. The Budget fully funded the Board of Education’s request for Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), including an additional $3.3 million for expanded pre-k programs — raising the two year total of early education expansions to over $7 million and creating more than 650 new full day pre-k slots, for a total of about 3,200 children attending publicly funded pre-k programs. The Council also added Excel Beyond the Bell after school programs at two additional Elementary School.
Bonus: Did it all in an election year!