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Immigrants plead case to Gaithersburg government

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Gaithersburg logoGAITHERSBURG — Several immigrants and their advocates came to City Hall Monday night to ask Mayor Jud Ashman and the City Council to pass a “restoring community trust” ordinance to provide protection to immigrant communities and assuage their fears of interacting with government agencies.

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Gaithersburg Presents Environmental Awards

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GAITHERSBURG — Mayor Jud Ashman and the City Council presented the city’s annual Environmental Awards at City Hall Monday Night. First given in 2002, the awards ceremony recognize businesses, nonprofits, individuals, schools, and other organizations for their environmental conservation efforts.

Ashman described Brown Station Elementary School, one of the honorees, as near to his heart, as his own children attended the school.

“Brown Station Elementary recently reopened and its students are enjoying the eco-friendly design features of the new campus,” Ashman said. “The school involves its students in many environmentally-responsible activities, including the recycling efforts led by the green team of fourth- and fifth-graders. Students have also been studying pollution in watersheds. In the fall, they took a field trip to learn about food production, waste, and the water cycle and the implications for the Chesapeake Bay.”

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BOE approves Gaithersburg school plans

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ROCKVILLE — On March 22, the Montgomery County Board of Education voted unanimously to approve the superintendent’s recommendation for the construction of a new elementary school in the Gaithersburg cluster as well as an amendment to expedite the boundary study to accommodate the concerns of area residents.

The proposal calls for the construction of an elementary school on the grounds of Kelley Park, a city property in the Saybrooke neighborhood. Construction is projected to be complete in fall of 2022.  School construction has long been a top priority in Gaithersburg, where several of the extant county elementary schools are operating well over capacity.

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Gaithersburg Receives Legislative Update

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Gaithersburg logoGAITHERSBURG With one-third of the state legislative session remaining, Gaithersburg officials were alarmed by the recently-introduced General Assembly bill to strip local governments of their authority to regulate placement of small cell towers. 

Monday night Legislative Affairs Manager Monica Marquina joined lobbyist Moira Moynihan to brief Mayor Jud Ashman and the rest of the City Council on legislative issues of concern to the City.

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G-Burg fathers take retreat to discuss city’s future goals

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Gaithersburg logoGAITHERSBURG — At Gaithersburg’s annual planning retreat, held Monday night at the Casey Community Center, the heads of various city departments presented Mayor Jud Ashman and the City Council with their goals and strategies for the coming fiscal year.

Britta Monaco, director of the Communications and Public Relations Department, said her department would focus on new means, such as increased social media presence, to promote the city’s activities. But one of her department’s objectives – leveraging existing community groups such as homeowner associations, neighborhood watches and other groups as “Citizen Influencers” to promote city events – sparked some questions from the Council.

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Apartments a problem in Gaithersburg elections

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Gaithersburg logoGAITHERSBURG — The members of Gaithersburg’s Board of Supervisors of Elections discussed the past and future of the city’s electoral processes at the City Council meeting Monday night. 

Mayor Jud Ashman and the City Council convened for a work session, during which City Attorney Lynn Board and Elections Clerk Lauren Klingler presented a “debrief” of last fall’s municipal election, outlining changes made to the city’s electoral process and proposals for future modifications.

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Gburg’s Spiegel calls for highway funds restoration

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gaithersburg buildingGAITHERSBURG — At Monday night’s meeting of Gaithersburg’s Mayor and City Council, Council Vice President Ryan Spiegel identified what he called the top priority for Gaithersburg and all other Maryland municipalities in the current legislative session. Spiegel, who also serves as statewide chair of the legislative committee of the Maryland Municipal League, noted that under a formula set by state law, cities and towns throughout Maryland are entitled to receive funding for roadway restoration and maintenance,

“Unfortunately, that formula was eviscerated by the State of Maryland back in 2009 during the Great Recession,” Spiegel said. “Ever since them, cities and towns have been working to get the state to restore that formula to its rightful equation, because without it, cities and towns are being deprived of the money they need to maintain our roads and other transportation infrastructure.”

Spiegel said that the MML sought public involvement in helping to convince state legislators to restore this funding, known as highway user revenues, or HURs, which is largely funded by state gasoline taxes.

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Gaithersburg residents express concerns about development

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gaithersburg buildingGAITHERSBURG — Several Gaithersburg residents came to a work session at City Hall Monday night to voice concerns about the effects of a proposed property development.  At work sessions held on March 27 and July 10 last year, Mayor Jud Ashman and the City Council were briefed on a proposal from Maser Consulting to construct two six-story apartment buildings and a parking garage on the site of the Kentlands Apartments. 

At those sessions, officials and area residents expressed concern that the developments could have adverse effects on traffic, particularly in regards to a proposed ingress/egress entrance on Great Seneca Highway, school capacity, snow and trash removal and public green spaces. Residents of the Colonnade, a condominium association which would be abutted by the proposed development, have expressed concerns about the impact of the development on their quality of life. 

Jodi Kline, an attorney with Miller, Miller and Canby, who represents the applicants, said that Maser Consulting had negotiated with Colonnade residents and incorporated their concerns into the revised proposal that was presented Monday night.

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Gaithersburg committees present reports

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Olde Towne Gburg rep. has concerns, art projects to be built in the city

GAITHERSBURG – City advisory committee staff told Mayor Jud Ashman and the Council Monday night of concerns about public perception of Olde Towne, updates on art projects in the City and plans for the 2018 Book Festival.

At a work session that evening, Mayor Jud Ashman and the City Council heard reports and plans from the staff of several of the City’s advisory committees.

For many years, the economic revitalization of Olde Towne has been one of the most contentious issues in the City. Lenny Levy, chairperson of the Olde Towne Advisory Subcommittee, said that the City had made progress on that front recently.

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Ashman will run for re-election in Gaithersburg

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GAITHERSBURG –City mayor Jud Ashman is running for his first four-year term.

In 2015, he won by a wide margin the election to serve the remaining two years of longtime Mayor Sidney Katz’s final term. He was appointed from his city council position to serve as mayor the previous year following Katz’s election to the Montgomery County Council. This fall, Ashman is running for a full four-year term.

He attributes his accomplishments while in office to group efforts and not solely to himself. “Most of the accomplishments from my time in office have been collective accomplishments,” Ashman said. “I feel like I’ve played an essential role, but it has been a group effort. Gaithersburg has a beacon, a terrific example for local governments about how a well-intentioned, well-prepared, thoughtful, mature group of representatives, can work together to get things done. We have the lowest tax-rate of any of Maryland's large cities. We remain debt free, and there are not a lot of municipalities out there that can make that claim.”

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