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Rockville looks forward to more controversy

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Published on: Thursday, December 27, 2012

By Daryl Buchanan

ROCKVILLE- With a very busy and even controversial year in the rearview Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio says there will be more major issues for the City to handle in 2013.

This year has not been without its controversial topics - like Pumphrey’s funeral home planned expansion, development in Twinbrook, Fireside Apartments, a devastating storm that left much of the city in the dark, and even staffing changes amid an investigation into improper conduct within the city.

A new year is upon the city and according to Marcuccio she and Council will be very busy.  There are always high priority mainstays like the city budget, but there will be a few new issues that will need attention.

“Certainly we’ll be looking at the [Adequate Public Facility Ordinates] and that is linked to the capacity of our schools. Overcrowding in our schools has been a major issue. We have to examine that and see if there need to be major changes,” said Marcuccio. “The Rockville Pike Plan is also important. We have to make sure we do what is right for the city with that.”

Following the results of the investigation into misconduct within the city, City Manager Barbara Burns Matthews has been given a number of recommendations to ensure such incidents are not repeated. Marcuccio recognized the importance of her work and the changes she’ll be making.

“The City Manager’s policy changes will be very important. We’ll want to make sure the changes she makes are put in place quickly. We don’t want to revisit the situation we’ve had to deal with again,” said Marcuccio.

“Barbara will also be hiring a new Human Resources Director and we need a new Parks and Recreations Director. Those are two big staffing needs that will have to be filled next year.”

There are also potential changes to the City Charter that the Charter Review Commission recently presented to the Mayor and Council. Among the recommendations are four year terms and voting during the Presidential Election.

“I like what they have proposed. Personally, I’m in favor of the four year terms for the Mayor and Council, but I think holding elections during the Presidential Election could cause the City to get lost in that process,” said Marcuccio. “I’m pleased to have it and we’ll put it to a referendum to see what the citizens think is good for the city.”

Marcuccio says continued changes to downtown Rockville will bring about dramatic impacts to the city over the next few years. She cited the Duball Cambria Suites project currently under construction in the town center.

The construction has begun and has taken half the parking spaces in the lot directly in front of the movie theater; the loss of parking spaces further strains an area in need of more parking as more and more people flock to the area for shopping, dining, and living.

Marcuccio said she suspects the construction of the mixed use project to have the benefit of bringing a lot more people into the city, but will also provide challenges during the various phases of construction.

“There’s a lot going on in the city and there is more to come. It’s a challenge to maintain an identity. The city is only 13-square miles and the only place to build is up. We have to ensure we maintain a balance. We want to improve on our city but also keep residents happy. There are challenges that come with that, but I think we can keep the city on the right track,” said Marcuccio.

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