Monday, March 31, 2014

Leggett Announces his Recommended FY15 Operating Budget


County Executive Ike Leggett has announced his recommended $4.97 billion operating budget for fiscal year (FY) 2015 that begins July 1, and includes a tax-supported County government budget of $1.478 billion. The budget funds education beyond what is required by the State Maintenance of Effort Level law to meet future needs created by the skyrocketing number of students in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), puts more police on the beat and reduces the County’s property tax rate.

Highlights on transportation improvements in the budget include: 
  • Enhance resources for Call ‘N’ Ride eligibility requirements that are expected to result in more than 400 new participants. 
  • Extend Ride On’s Kids Ride Free program for an extra hour -- from 
  • 2 p.m. until 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. 
  • Ensure the County’s road infrastructure remains sound by significantly boosting funding for maintenance. Highway Services would expand planned road resurfacing from 24 lane miles in FY14 to 124 lane miles in FY15. 
  • Expand customer-friendly “smart” parking meters that were recently installed in Bethesda to on-street meters in downtown Silver Spring. 
View the budget on the County’s website.

Ride On’s ‘Give & Ride’ Food Drive Offers Free Rides to Those Who Donate Food for Needy Families

Ride On bus passengers can help residents in need and receive a free bus ride by donating canned or nonperishable food during Ride On’s annual food drive. Riders who donate will ride free during Give and Ride from Sunday, April 6, through Saturday, April 12. Food collection bags will be placed near the fare boxes on all Ride On buses.

The donated food goes to Manna Food Center, Montgomery County's food bank.

Canned and non-perishable foods are acceptable but not those in glass containers. Healthful foods, such as whole grains and low-salt or low-sugar items, are appreciated.

More details about Give and Ride are available on the County’s website or visit the Division of Transit Services’ website.

Road Rehabilitation Project to Begin in Sligo Park Hills

The Sligo Park Hills community in Silver Spring is the latest neighborhood to benefit from the Montgomery County Department of Transportation’s (MCDOT) Residential Road Rehabilitation program.

In response to County Executive Ike Leggett’s call for a more systematic approach to maintaining the County’s transportation infrastructure, MCDOT biennially assesses the condition of every County road. Sligo Park Hills, located east of Piney Branch Road, has many streets rated very poor. The rehabilitation project will renew concrete and asphalt streets, sidewalks and curbs, and provides the option for residents to make concrete repairs on their property at reduced cost.

In the residential road rehabilitation program, MCDOT does not widen or alter the character of the streets and, during construction, takes special care to preserve trees in the right-of-way. Contractors conduct full-depth pavement patching and repave the streets with hot mix asphalt.

Rehabilitation will begin in the spring and should be completed in the summer.





Dale Drive Sidewalk Completed

The Division of Transportation Engineering recently completed construction of 1,900 feet of new sidewalk along the north side of Dale Drive, from Mansfield Road to Hartford Avenue, in Silver Spring. The project was part of the Transportation Improvements for New Schools program, which funds improvements to serve County public schools. Previously, the program constructed sections of other sidewalk along Dale Drive from Wayne Avenue to Piney Branch Road. This latest sidewalk connects Sligo Creek Elementary School and the Silver Spring International Middle School to downtown Silver Spring, Sligo Creek Park and bus stops.

The project involved building retaining walls that are more than 300 feet long, ranging in height from three to 11 feet, and relocating the storm drainage system and gas, sewer, and water utilities.



Highway Services to Resume Road Repair Work as Spring Hopefully Approaches

The Division of Highway Services anticipates finally putting away its snow plows and resuming warmer weather road repair and maintenance work.

Among the upcoming projects are:
  • Peach Tree Road, Barnesville, permanent patching project. Beginning in early April, crews will make structural, permanent patches to the road to cost-effectively maintain roadway structural integrity. The project is expected to take two to three weeks, weather permitting. Work will be performed between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. 
  • Kensington Heights, Kensington, concrete repair project will fix concrete curbs, gutters and sidewalks; replace defective sections of curbs or sidewalks; ensure structural integrity and proper drainage; and remove tripping hazards. Residents can take advantage of discounts for concrete work under the driveway apron and lead walk repair program. The project will begin in early April and is expected to take six to eight weeks, weather permitting. Work will occur between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Transit Advisory Group Seeks Members

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) is seeking 12 regular riders of the County’s Ride On bus system to serve as volunteers on its Transit Advisory Group (TAG).TAG advises Ride On and the County Executive on issues related to transit. Applications will be accepted through close of business on Friday, April 15.

Residents interested in being considered for the group should email, fax or send a letter to MCDOT containing the following information:
  • Name, home address, city, state and zip code;
  • Day/evening telephone numbers;
  • Email address
  • Length of time using Ride On;
  • Frequency of using Ride On;
  • The contributions you hope to provide to the Transit Advisory Group; and
  • Personal or professional background information.
Email the information to mcdot.tag@montgomerycountymd.gov, fax to 240-777-5801 or write to:

Division of Transit Services
Transit Advisory Group
101 Monroe Street, 5th Floor, Rockville, Maryland 20850

For more information, visit www.rideonbus.com and click on current events or call 240-777-5800.



Neighborhood Beautification Grants Available

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation’s (MCDOT) Keep Montgomery County Beautiful (KMCB) Task Force is reviewing grant applications through June to fund beautification projects that help improve the appearance of communities. The grants pay 50 percent of the total cost, up to $500, on a competitive basis, to any non-profit community association. Volunteer hours spent on the project are valued at $7.25 an hour.

Since 2000, KMCB has helped 65 communities fund beautification projects to plant flowers, shrubs or trees; landscape a community entranceway or traffic circle; convert weed fields to wildflower meadows; use plants to screen roads; and beautify schools.

Grants must be used for new projects that improve community aesthetics or serve to protect the environment. Construction and general maintenance projects or those that have already been completed do not qualify.

The KMCB Task Force is a group of concerned volunteers who help educate residents and change public attitudes about littering; support cleanup and beautification projects; encourage residents to start or improve recycling programs; and raise awareness of the problems caused by graffiti. MCDOT has funded KMCB since the mid-1980s. The group welcomes new members and meets informally once a month in Rockville.

To apply for a beautification grant, or for information on how you can become a member of the Task Force, contact MCDOT’s Community Outreach Program at 240-777-7155, email mcdot.outreach@montgomerycountymd.gov or visit their website.