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Metro faces problems caused by Virginia funding law

  • Published in Local

WMATA metro logoMontgomery County Executive Ike Leggett says he doesn’t agree with a Virginia law that seeks to limit input from Metro alternate board members. 

Tom Bulger, an alternate Metro board member agrees with Leggett. 

Virginia’s dedicated funding bill passed in the state legislature earlier this year prohibits alternate board members from giving input in committee meetings or participating in executive sessions.

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Council approves additional funding to Leggett’s budget

  • Published in Local

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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"Go Big or Go Home!"

  • Published in State

Hogan and Leggett pull out the stops to help Metro and entice Amazon to the county

On a stage normally reserved for large orchestras, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) signed two bills that could have a major impact on Montgomery County.

One bill Hogan signed gave Metro a dedicated source of funding for the first time. The other bill Hogan signed was a tax incentive package to help bring Amazon’s second headquarters to the White Flint area.

Instead of musicians filling the Music Center at Strathmore in Bethesda, local and state officials from Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., were on hand to witness the bills get signed into law.

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County reconsiders small cell antennas

  • Published in Local

celltowerFile photoThe Montgomery County Council is again considering another zoning text amendment that will make way for a series of telecommunication antennas that have been the subject of controversy around the County.

On Tuesday, Council President Hans Riemer (D-At-Large), introduced ZTA 18-02 on behalf of County Executive Isiah Leggett (D). If passed, it would amend county zoning laws to make it easier to erect small cell antennas in commercial zones. The bill’s introduction marks a change in policy for the Council after similar legislation that would have also facilitated the placement of hundreds of small cell antennas on both commercial and residential property was put on hold after meeting significant resistance from the public.

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County budget process runs into new problems

  • Published in Local

MoCo LogoGERMANTOWN — The budget process for County Executive Isiah Leggett’s last year in office takes place during a time of uncertainty.

Leggett has bragged to residents about the County’s low unemployment rate, its “triple A” bond rating and its growing reserves, as he has toured the County to talked to residents as part of his series of annual budget forums. Yet, as the term-limited Democrat prepares to submit his final budget to the County Council by March 4, the County that Leggett has served for many years is in the grips of an unexpected budget shortfall.

“My first objective is to try to do no harm,” Leggett said, “to provide the services and the programs for the things that we are already funding where it makes sense for us to continue that. Once we achieved that objective, then I would look to try to expand beyond that depending on the level of resources available.”

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Education committee recommends $30 million cuts

  • Published in Local

The Montgomery County Council Education Committee considered County Executive Isiah “Ike” Leggett’s (D) proposed cuts in funding for Montgomery County Public Schools and Montgomery College last week when the Council’s committees met to nail down the details of how best to absorb the projected $120 million budget shortfall brought about by the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. 

“We understand that this is a moment of unique times although unfortunately for us in the County it seems to be this uniqueness happen more often, which kind of redefines uniqueness,” said Council member Craig Rice (D-3), who chairs the Education Committee.

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Budget shortfall could hit County gang prevention

  • Published in Local

ROCKVILLE — Montgomery County Council Members are concerned that the County’s new effort to pour money into preventing the growth of gang activity could be a casualty of the forthcoming budget cuts intended to mitigate a budget shortfall.

“Here’s my concern so, alright, we are going to engage very actively in January to address the savings plan,” said Council member Nancy Navarro (D-4) during a joint meeting of the Council’s Public Safety and Health and Human Services Committees. “At the same time that we also heard there were programs that we have funded previously that have not actually been implemented.”

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Small businesses see new minimum wage law as a "business killer" for them

  • Published in Local

MoCo LogoWhile local union members and activists cheered and waved their “Fight for $15” signs on Monday as Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett signed legislation Monday to boost the minimum wage to $15 an hour, some small business owners fear that their livelihoods and those of the people they employ will be hurt by the mandated increases.

“It will force me out of business,” said Richard Gorinson, owner of J&S Shoes in Wheaton.

Gorinson said “[B]y the time it goes into effect, I’ll go out of business.”

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Elrich spearheads County’s minimum wage increase

  • Published in Local

20171107 121455Marc Elrich stands with fellow Council members and community leaders in announcing the passing of the minimum wage increase legislation. PHOTO BY NEAL EARLEY  ROCKVILLE – The minimum wage in Montgomery County Council will soon begin a slow rise from its current level of $11.50 per hour to an eventual $15 an hour, ending a year filled with debate, endless amendments and compromise upon compromise among members of the Montgomery County Council, which voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve Bill 18-27.

The bill now heads to the desk of County Executive Isiah Leggett (D), who in January vetoed a prior attempt by the Council to pass a minimum wage bill, but said in a statement Tuesday that he plans on signing the revised legislation.

“Based on the changes from the original bill, what the County Council approved today is close enough to the conditions I laid down for my support that I will sign the measure into law,” Leggett said.

Incremental change is the centerpiece of the bill, which will require employers to incrementally increase their minimum wage to $15 per hour over the course of the next six years.

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Hogan dedicates Intercounty Connector to Bob Ehrlich

  • Published in Local

Maryland Gov. Robert “Bob” Ehrlich met with then-President George W. Bush for lunch at Camp David in 2003, Bush asked Ehrlich a simple question.

“What can I do for you?” Ehrlich said Bush had asked him.

Ehrlich said governors usually have a short list of requests for the president, but at that meeting Ehrlich said only one thing came to mind – help in pushing the longplanned Intercounty Connector project along.

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