The Council Connection — transportation and parks budgets

Council Connection Masthead

Council President’s Message

The Council’s meeting this week was productive. We took up a number of substantial items, including changes to the County’s stormwater program and legislation that makes it easier for seniors who have lived in their homes for 40 years to get a property tax credit. You can view the Council’s full agenda here. More information about the senior property tax credit is here.

Now, I’d like to continue our exploration of this year’s budget, reviewing transportation and parks.

Budget Update: Transportation
Transportation funding was a high priority for the Council in this year’s budget. The Council funded the Department of Transportation’s budget at more than $217 million. This includes funding for items like road maintenance, leaf collection, Ride On and the parking lot districts. Despite the challenging fiscal climate, the Council was able to make the following important additions to the County’s transportation budget:

  • New pilot bus service on Route 52 between Glenmont Metro Station and Rockville. This new service will use microbuses to broaden the service area.
  • New bus service between several points in Clarksburg and the Germantown MARC station starting in January 2019
  • $100,000 to restore signal timing optimization to help keep traffic moving
  • Creation of a Vision Zero Coordinator position within the County Executive’s Office
  • Addition of $2 million for residential resurfacing in FY20
  • New funding to design and build pedestrian underpasses at the White Flint and Forest Glen Metro Stations
  • $2.8 million in additional funding to accelerate bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure projects in the Wheaton, Veirs Mill, Takoma-Langley, Long Branch and Piney Branch Bicycle Pedestrian Priority Areas (BiPPA)

Budget Update: Parks
The Council funded $153.6 million for the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC). Included in this amount is more than $107 million to maintain the County’s park system, which includes 419 parks and more than 36,800 acres of land. The Council added $200,000 to create urban parks through placemaking and $343,995 to provide service for new and expanded parks across the County. Some of the high priorities have been trails, including natural surface trails, and athletic fields.

  • Added $2 million for Parks to increase their stream protection efforts
  • Increased funding by $750K to support the renovation of school ballfields
  • $1.5 million in funding to support Vision Zero improvements Trail – Road intersections
  • Kept the Hillandale Local Park renovation on schedule to be completed in FY22


Hans Riemer Signature

Hans Riemer
Council President

Improving the quality of County playing fields

Cabin John Park Ball Field

Playing Fields!

As a parent of two kids and as a guy who spent a lot of his youth playing sports, I know that quality playing fields make a big difference.

Over the past eighteen months, with the strong support of Planning Board Chairman Casey Anderson and his great team as well as my colleagues on the County Council, I have been working with MCPS and the Department of Parks to put a greater emphasis on the renovation and maintenance of playing fields, whether they are located on MCPS property or MNCPPC property.

I am happy to share that the Department of Parks has launched a program to determine the condition and maintenance needs of every Park and public school athletic field in the County. Every single one! The initial assessment of all the fields was completed over the summer. The ballfields were assessed using criteria that included quality of grass, grass coverage, soil compaction, infield mix, infield grading, and drainage.

Our Council Committee received an update about the assessment, which you can read here.

During the 2016 capital budget review, I worked with the Education committee to allocate $750,000 over two years from permit fee funds managed by the Interagency Coordinating Board (ICB) for the Department of Parks to renovate ten school sites (with more than 15 fields) in Winter 2017 and five additional school sites in summer/fall 2017. The list of the first 10 school sites will be finalized soon.

Falls Road Soccer Field

I also worked as a member of the Planning Housing and Economic Development committee to increase the Parks budget for local field park ballfield renovation by 10%, which I certainly think is a good use of taxpayer dollars.

This grass field renovation will start building the supply of quality athletic fields across the County. Parks will use this opportunity to renovate not only the grass (or dirt infield), but improve the quality of the soil beneath when needed, regrade the field for drainage and review whether an irrigation system is realistic. Parks will also be investing in goal posts, nets, backstops and fencing that go along with the athletic fields.

Riemer Town Hall on Dec 12

Dear Supporter,

Please join me on December 12, for a town hall Solutions Forum in Rockville. The event will take place at Richard Montgomery High School in the cafeteria, at 7:00 pm.

I am nearing the end of my first year on the County Council! Friends and community members regularly ask me if the job is everything I had expected. The answer is, it is even better than I hoped. I get to spend every day figuring out how to make my community a better place to live.

On Monday, December 12, I’d like to spend some time discussing community needs with you at my first town-hall style event. I’m calling it a “Solutions Forum” because I want the focus to be on solving problems.

Councilmember Riemer’s Solutions Forum

Monday, December 12 at 7:00 PM

Richard Montgomery High School Cafeteria

250 Richard Montgomery Drive

Rockville, MD 20852

That evening, I will discuss some of my agenda items for the coming year as well as review milestones from 2011. I will present some early information about our budget and fiscal situation and talk about how we work to balance priorities at the County Council.

I will look to hear from residents about our priorities: education, economic development, transportation, parks, libraries, social services, neighborhood conditions, youth engagement, senior living, county government effectiveness and responsiveness, sector plans… any issue that is on your mind. Town Halls are a great way for me to get your input and for you to get your questions answered. You can help with Council decision-making by coming out to voice your views about issues happening in your neighborhood. This is the way to have an effective government.

Please forward this message to any individuals or groups that might be interested, of course everyone is encouraged to attend. Send an email if you’re planning on joining us.

Thank you!

Yours Sincerely,
Hans Riemer
Council Member At-Large

Daily journal, 10-03-11

First up, breakfast with my friend and now member of the Montgomery
County Planning Commission, Casey Anderson. I first met Casey when I
knocked on his door in 2005 during my campaign for council, district
5. He was involved with a few local officials (Raskin) and advocacy
campaigns. We had a pretty involved discussion about county issues
right there on his door step and we’ve never stopped talking. Funny
enough he was in Clarksburg with Commission Chair Francoise Carrier
while I was there with Parks Director Mary Bradford on Friday. We
decided to tour together in the upcounty to mull over planning issues.

Then a meeting with Roger Berliner and Dan Hoffman to talk about
technology and OpenGov issues. I relayed some of what I learned last
week talking with Bryan Sivak, Maryland’s new Chief Innovation
Officer, who had a lot of great ideas about how to move forward.

Then into scheduling discussions and keeping up with the outstanding
legislative work by my team. We have a public hearing tomorrow on an
economic development bill I have sponsored.

Next, a committee meeting for T/E where we got a briefing on road
maintenance. I put my OpenGov learning into practice, requesting that
our DOT provide a map showing residents the condition and maintenance
schedule for county roads. We get so many inquiries on this issue that
I think there may be a big audience for the map. Our DOT does a superb
job with limited funds, making wise investments about how to maintain
the roads, in my view. But residents have to contact an official in
order to learn that kind of information and we could provide it

Last, some studying for tomorrow’s vote on the new CR zone. I am
excited about the implications of this zone for our commercial areas.
I think it will improve our environmental impact, enhance resident
input into development and promote transparency, facilitate more
growth in the right places rather than in traffic-generating sprawl
locations, require developers to provide more community benefits, and
make for much better places to live.

Fantastic Parks in Germantown and Clarksburg

Today I got the chance to go behind the scenes at the Parks Department. I spent the day touring a number of parks and maintenance facilities in the up-county area with Mary Bradford, our exceptionally pleasant and highly accomplished Parks Director, and a number of her staffers.

I particularly appreciated learning how the parks connect in the various communities around Clarksburg and how the Parks Department thinks about expanding park land. I always enjoy a stop at Black Hill Regional Park, where I am intent on taking a boating trip soon, and Little Bennett Regional Park, where I about ready to get the family out for a camping trip. The East Germantown Recreational Park — aka SoccerPlex — is astounding, as anyone who has spent time there knows. Some say its the best soccer facility in the country.

With Mary or one of her colleagues at the wheel, I took the chance to assess the state of roads and other infrastructure in the Clarksburg area. I am voting soon on a proposal to provide additional public subsidies into Clarksburg to get various road projects going.