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Leggett Makes History With Veto

  • Published in Local

First line-item veto by any county executive in 25 years affects stormwater management

Leggett 20091001 104316County Executive Ike Leggett. FILE PHOTO  Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett broke precedent and issued a line-item veto in the County Capital Improvements Programs budget over a fight with a majority of the members of the County Council over the future of stormwater management.

Leggett’s line-item veto, which is narrowly tailored to specific parts of the $4.5 billion capital budget, is the first in Leggett’s nearly 12-year tenure as County Executive and the first line-item veto by any county executive in 25 years. The veto blocks the current status quo of how the County awards contracts for its stormwater-management programs.

In January, Leggett proposed reforming the way the County Department of Environmental Protection awards stormwater-management contracts. Currently, the County offers separate contracts for different companies to plan, design, and build stormwater-management projects. Leggett proposed putting the entire process – the planning, designing, and building – of a stormwater-management contract into one contract for a company to bid on, saying it would make the process more efficient and save taxpayers money.

“I regret that you and the Council majority have made this veto necessary,” Leggett wrote in a letter to Council President Hans Riemer (D-at large). “Playing politics with a critical environmental issue, doubling down on a costly and inefficient status quo, and kicking the proverbial can down the road will never be confused with efficient governance.” 

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Stormwater fees up in Takoma Park

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Public Works Director Daryl Braithwaite proposed an increase to the stormwater fee, from $55 to $92, to cover the costs for new requirements and additional maintenance.

The stormwater fee is seldom increased, in an attempt to try to match projections from the city for the expenses related to stormwater management. The last time the fee was increased was in Fiscal Year 2013, when it moved up to $55 from $48 in FY 2007, according to the city.

“We tend to try to keep them in place for four to five years before we bump them to the next level,” said Braithwaite. She says that incremental increases every year are not something that they want.

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Buzz gets louder over the new G-Burg drone

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droneregistration

GAITHERSBURG -- The city owns a drone and city officials are deciding what to do with it.

At a work session with Mayor Jud Ashman and the City Council Monday night, Assistant City Attorney Frank Johnson and city spokesperson Britta Monaco presented options for using the unmanned drone aircraft, which the city purchased in June.

Johnson and Monaco said that the city’s primary interest was to use the drone for promotional and media activities.

“We have contemplated the use of a drone for quite some time,” Monaco said. “We, meaning the Public Information staff, have primarily contemplated its use for marketing purposes, taking areal pictures of our festivals and special events.”

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Newton asks for Fed help on stormwater

  • Published in Local

ROCKVILLE -- Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton is asking federal legislators to help the city fund its stormwater management priorities, including requiring the state and county to chip in with fees the federal government would later reimburse.

The point is to mitigate the cost to Rockville residents and business owners who currently shoulder the cost of stormwater management, according to the mayor.

"They're not paying their fair share," said Newton about the state government and Montgomery County.

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