Daily Journal, March 12 (Cost Shift Update & Wheaton Revitalization)

Today, the council president and county executive sent a letter to the state delegation about the proposals for the pension shift and maintenance of effort. The letter concludes by saying, “In our meetings in Annapolis with you and other leaders of our delegation, we have stressed that we will stand by you if at the end of the day the total package that emerges treats Montgomery County and its residents fairly. We stand by that pledge. However, in the absence of substantial changes to the pension cost shift and maintenance of effort legislation, we will not be able to say that.”

Tough times.

On a more positive note, we had a long discussion at the economic development committee about Wheaton. As I said at the meeting, I personally appreciate what the county executive has done by putting $42 million into the capital budget (meaning that the money is borrowed, and not money that could be used on salaries, etc) for Wheaton redevelopment. I have been concerned about the specific proposal that this budget item would fund though, as it has a potentially devastating effect on many small businesses in Wheaton while the upside benefits may or may not materialize in 2, 5 or even 10 years. I am looking for a plan that will have more certainty in the benefits and reduce our impact on small businesses. This can be achieved by funding the construction of a county building on county property in Wheaton, rather that a platform over the Metro.