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Council introduces new small-cell-antenna bill

  • Published in Local

countysealROCKVILLE — Warning that the federal government will take away local control from the County over how it regulates telecommunications towers, County Council President Hans Riemer (D-at large) on Tuesday introduced a zoning text amendment that will help facilitate the expansion of cellphone antennas in the County.

While the County Council introduced and debated a similar bill about a year ago, with members of the Council saying telecommunication companies needed to deploy the small-cell antennas to expand 4G and cellphone service throughout the County, many residents balked at the idea, claiming the antennas are an eyesore or that the radiation they emit may pose a danger to public health.

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County to consider naming school after Henson

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Josiah Henson bwFormer Montgomery County slave turned author, abolitionist and minister Josiah Henson. COURTESY PHOTOThe County Council president and the County Executive’s First Lady say a former Montgomery County slave never received the recognition he deserved. 

“Naming a high school in his [the Rev. Josiah Henson’s] honor would serve to pay tribute to his achievements, reminding our community of our unique history and the role of African-American leaders in our County since its earliest days,” County Council president Hans Riemer and First Lady Catherine Leggett said. “It will give our residents and children some ownership of the fight for freedom that Josiah Henson embodies. It will help portray our County in its true light.”

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Riemer, Jawando, Glass, and Albornoz advance

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In a field that included 33 candidates, incumbent Council member Hans Riemer, along with newcomers Will Jawando, Evan Glass, and Gabe Albornoz emerged victorious to secure Democratic nominations for the County’s four at-Large County Council seats in November’s general election.

“This has been an amazing race. There’s so many people running for Council, a lot of really wonderful and qualified people. The county's in a really good position and we have a lot of great people serving on the Council,” Riemer said during a watch party at the Quarry House Tavern in Silver Spring.

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Council passes funding for immigrant legal services

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countysealThe Montgomery County Council on Tuesday unanimously approved $373,957 in funds for legal services for immigrants facing deportation, as the Council was set to approve its budget.

The vote was met with protest from both immigration and legal advocates, who had originally supported the measure, and by opponents who said they do not want the County to spend taxpayer dollars on legal services for immigrants.

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Council approves additional funding to Leggett’s budget

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countysealThe Montgomery County Council unanimously approved an additional $14.8 million to the budget on its reconciliation list as the Council is set to give final approval to the budget Thursday.

The $14.8 million is a part of the Council reconciliation list, spending that was not originally included in the County Executive’s proposed budget and that the Council’s various committees voted to add through their weeks of meetings.

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Officials still struggling to see how federal tax cuts will affect Montgomery County

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ROCKVILLE — When County finance officials arrived Monday to a pre-scheduled briefing with the Montgomery County Council on the effects the recently-passed federal tax cuts will have on the County, the analysis they provided to the Council was sobering: they don’t know what the effects will be. 

Monday’s briefing, which brought together legislative staff, finance officials and economists to meet with the County Council, came on the heels of the release of a report by the state comptroller on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed in December. While the session was meant as a briefing to the Council on the potential impact of the tax cuts – which already have resulted in a $120 million budget shortfall for the current fiscal year – after less than three months under the overhauled tax code, it is still too early to tell what the effect will be on the County and state.

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County to strengthen lobbyist bill

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countysealThe Montgomery County Council will consider a bill to implement recommendations by the Montgomery County Ethics Commission for strengthening the County’s laws on conflicts of interest, financial disclosure and lobbying by closing the so-called “revolving door” between the lobbying industry and the County government.

Introduced Tuesday by Council President Hans Riemer (D-At-Large), Bill 2-18 would subject anyone employed by the County Executive or the County Council to a one-year lobbying ban when they leave their public employment. The bill would also prohibit County employees who are former lobbyists from working in departments that overlapped with their lobbying activities.

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Ficker claims no one denied him access at public meetings in the past

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Robin FickerRobin Ficker FILE PHOTO  On Dec. 26 during an impromptu County Council meeting, Republican candidate for County Executive and political activist Robin Ficker was not given a spot to speak at the public hearing.

While Council President Hans Riemer (D-at large), did not allow Ficker to speak at the Dec. 26 public hearing, many residents who frequent Council meetings and testify – including Ficker – said they have never had trouble voicing their opposition at the Council building before.

“He's making the Council a political body instead of a public body,” said Ficker, who has told the Sentinel he has never had trouble testifying at the Council before.

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County finds a way to let beer pour freely

  • Published in Local

ROCKVILLE — The Montgomery County Council on Tuesday unanimously passed a zoning text amendment to clarify an ambiguous regulation governing the operation of breweries in the County.

Zoning Text Amendment 17-07 changes County zoning laws to allow licensed brewers to make manufacturing beer their primary business in urban districts as opposed to the way current law required brewing beer to be an accessory business for a restaurant. 

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