Council Update — proposing a Commission for Remembrance and Reconciliation

Dear Resident,

The Council is in regular session this Tuesday. View the agenda.

As you may have heard, the Council recently received an update on County revenues that indicated a nearly $44 million hole in the County’s reserves. Consequently, the County Executive has wisely proposed a “mid-year” savings plan, which the Council is reviewing presently, to ensure we do not end the year dipping into our reserve. I applaud the Executive’s decision to stay the course on our reserve.

Today Council staff briefed the Council on the factors driving changes to revenues and expenditures. I recommend this presentation if you want to learn more about our overall fiscal situation.

Following are some other highlights of the Council’s week:

Establishing a “Remembrance and Reconciliation Commission”
Today I introduced a resolution to establish a Remembrance and Reconciliation Commission. Joining me as co-leads were Councilmembers Jawando and Rice. The commission will work to establish a memorial for the three (at least) African Americans who were lynched in Montgomery County; George Peck and John Diggs in 1880 and Sidney Randolph in 1896. The Commission will seek a community dialogue about our history, and how to promote reconciliation, peace and justice, as we seek to participate in the Equal Justice Initiative’s program. The Office of Human Rights, under the direction of Jim Stowe, will support the initiative. I encourage you to read the resolution here.

Council Committees take up the FY19 Savings Plan
This week the Transportation and Environment (T&E), Government Operations (GO), Health and Human Services (HHS), and Planning, Housing, and Economic Development (PHED) committees will review and make recommendations on the County Executive’s recommended FY19 Savings Plan.

Policy Forum on Accessory Dwelling Units
I hosted a policy forum on accessory dwelling units (ADUs) this past weekend. We had a wide-ranging and interactive discussion on what it will take to increase the supply of this important housing type. You can view a video of the event and the presentations. ADUs are seperate dwelling units — like backyard cottages or in-house apartments — on the same lot as a house. Unfortunately, the County’s rules treat this housing type as a nuisance to be avoided rather than a resource to be welcomed. The zoning change I have introduced aims to change that framework. You can discuss on social media with #mocotinyhouse, and your comments will be captured in our process.

The public hearing for the zoning change will be on Tuesday, February 26 at 7:30pm. Sign up to present a three minute testimony here.

Opportunities for public service
The County is seeking applicants for the Public Election Fund Committee and the Charter Review Commission. Both are great opportunities for you to help the County make better, more-informed decisions.

Hans Riemer Signature

Hans Riemer
Councilmember, At-large