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UPDATE: Rockville fires Swift

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Rockville Seal

ROCKVILLE – Rockville is one manager down after action this week.

The city manager fired the director of Community Planning and Development Services March 3, spokesperson Marylou Berg confirmed.

“I made a change in the best interest of the organization and the City,” City Manager Rob DiSpirito said Monday. “I feel that the department needed new direction and a fresh start.”

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Rockville considers sanctuary

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City holds public forum and listens as residents and neighbors discuss immigration

Rockville Seal

ROCKVILLE – More than 80 people testified during a public hearing Monday on a planned ordinance which would preclude the city from enforcing federal immigration law.

Residents, property owners and workers in the city, as well as individuals from elsewhere in the county, shared concerns about what would happen if the ordinance was implemented.

Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton said the purpose of the public hearing was to give residents a chance to comment on the idea of Rockville becoming a sanctuary city. She said she and the council received many letters over the past few weeks pertaining to the sanctuary city status.

There were “many in support and there are many who have concerns,” Newton said.

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Rockville police lobby for school resource officers and filling vacancies

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Rockville Police Department logo

ROCKVILLE – The City Council is considering adding a school resource police officer to its fiscal year 2018 operating budget.

Bob Rappoport, acting Rockville City Police Chief, said the department applied for a grant for an additional school resource officer for six years but was denied each time. This year, he’s requesting it be added to the city budget.

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Rockville Council backs BRT plan on Veirs Mill

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ROCKVILLE – The City Council voted in favor of a $148 million proposed plan to build curbside lanes dedicated to Bus Rapid Transit along Veirs Mill Road Monday.

However, the City Council’s vote is only a recommendation; county and state officials will ultimately determine what happens with the BRT project.

Council members Julie Palakovich Carr, Beryl Feinberg and Mark Pierzchala agreed to support one of three options up for consideration for adding BRT between Rockville and Wheaton Metro stations.

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Rockville argues about - wait for it - unity

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ROCKVILLE – The mayor and City Council voiced support for unity within the city’s diverse community in the wake of the presidential election even though they disagree about what, exactly, to say.

The clash came from statements from Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton and Council member Julie Palakovich Carr.

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Rockville reports spending decrease in 2016

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Rockville Seal

ROCKVILLE – Total city spending across all departments and funds on everything except payroll dropped more than $7 million from Fiscal Year 2015 to 2016, according to a new report issued by the city’s procurement director Jessica Blow.

Blow said in the FY ’16 report the city spent about $91.4 million, down from about $98.7 million in FY ’15.

Spending from the city’s general fund increased from 32 percent to 39 percent of city spending while other areas, like water and sewer, dropped.

City officials spent just under $35.6 million from the general fund in FY ’16, up from $31.4 million in FY ’15.

According to Blow, Public Works spent the most money among operating departments with 36 percent of all spending at nearly $33.3 million, about $19.5 million more than Recreation and Parks, the city’s next-highest spender.

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Rockville pays extra $300K to fund water filtration project

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ROCKVILLE – The mayor and City Council approved up to $300,000 in new funds Monday to upgrade the city’s water treatment facility construction project in order to replace damaged sand filters.

According to Acting Public Works Director Judy Ding, the extra money pays for “unforeseen work on the water treatment plant filters.”

“This work must be completed before we can switch over to ferric chloride, which is required in order for us to complete our consent agreement with (the Maryland Department of the Environment) in order to comply fully with our Stage 2 disinfection byproducts regulation,” she said, referring to an Environmental Protection Agency rule.

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Cruising down memory lane with classic autos

Rockville auto show 10-18-16Auto enthusiasts admire the vintage cars at the Rockville Antique and Classic Car Show. PHOTO BY PETER ROULEAU 

ROCKVILLE – In addition to various fall festivals and Halloween attractions, there is another seasonal event that draws many area residents: the Rockville Antique and Classic Car Show.

Sponsored by the mayor and City Council and held every year on the grounds of the Fitzgerald Civic Center, hundreds of car owners and members of various car clubs are invited to display their vehicles to fellow auto enthusiasts.

The catalogue invariably includes a wide variety of car makes, models, and model years.

Organizers said due to excellent weather on Saturday, this year’s festival attracted an estimated 14,000 people, a sizable increase from previous years.

“The car show, which began in 1962, is one of our oldest and most consistently celebrated events,” said Rockville Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton. “It’s an incredible opportunity to see so many well-maintained vintage cars in one place, and an opportunity for those of us who don’t know a lot about cars to learn about them.”

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Rockville discusses traumatic brain injuries for youth athletes

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ROCKVILLE – City Council members heard about the dangers of traumatic brain injury in youth sports from city staff Monday and quizzed Rockville Football League officials about what they’re doing to prevent those injuries.

The mayor and City Council did not provide any direction to staff or discuss whether to keep funding contact sports leagues but they did receive four recommendations from Andrew Lett, the city’s superintendent of Recreation about how to regulate the leagues.

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Rockville ponders BRT on Veirs Mill Road

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Rockville Seal

ROCKVILLE -- City Council members voiced support for adding Bus Rapid Transit to Veirs Mill Road Monday but they couldn't decide whether to formally endorse any particular alternative or a broader set of options.

Council members divided over whether they should tell Montgomery County and state transportation officials their preferred alternative among the four options for adding more mass transit options between Wheaton and Montgomery College's campus in Rockville.

They opted instead to mull it over for a week and vote Oct. 17.

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