GAITHERSBURG — At Monday night’s meeting, Gaithersburg’s Legislative Affairs Manager Monica Marquina briefed Mayor Jud Ashman and the City Council on the city’s priorities when the Maryland State Legislature convenes in January.
The first priority Marquina identified was advocating for increased school construction funding. Several of the schools which serve the city are enrolled over capacity. Marquina noted that Montgomery County Public Schools had seen record enrollment for the 2017-18 school year.
“Without adequate school funding, MCPS will once again be forced to rely on relocatable classrooms and increasingly aging and inadequate facilities will be the norm,” Marquina said.
Marquina said the city would also focus on legislation requiring other municipal governments to pay stormwater management fees.
“We’ve seen this before, but we are going to try and take a different tactic with Delegate Kumar Barve,” Marquina said. “While the city does have an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) to deal with this as a county issue, as you know, MOUs are not codified under state law, so at any time that could go away. So, we’re looking for something new that would address the equity and fairness in our stormwater management.”
Other priorities include permanent restoration of highway user revenue and legislation granting local governments the authority to deny state and local governments access to databases with large numbers of email addresses, due to citizen concerns about privacy, identity theft, and spam email.
“Our concern is that people will hesitate to sign up for Gaithersburg and other newsletters that provide vital information to our community,” Marquina said.
“I’m fully behind all of this,” Ashman said. Ashman asked the current status of the city’s MOU with Montgomery County in regards to stormwater fees.
“We have executed the MOU with the County,” said Deputy City Manager Dennis Enslinger. “They’ve made one back payment for FY ‘16 and they’re scheduled to make the next back payments for FY ‘17 and FY ‘18...one of the issues we’ve tried to address with legislation is the school issue. The school district properties are still not paying their stormwater fees.”
Council member Ryan Spiegel, who serves as chair of Maryland Municipal League's Legislative Affairs Committee, said that he would work with representatives of other Maryland cities and towns on the priorities Marquina had identified in the next legislative session, which is set to convene on Jan. 10.