Engaging with the Community Throughout the Year

From conducting community meetings to hosting special events to providing the high-quality customer service residents and visitors expect, each City of Rockville department or office engaged with the community throughout Fiscal Year 2016.

The Department of Recreation and Parks continued to offer programs, community centers and parks where community members could be active, learn new skills, meet new friends and enjoy nature. That included more than 31,000 registrations in city recreation programs and 300,000 visits to the Rockville Swim and Fitness Center – the city’s most popular recreation facility. The Community Services Division reached out to the community, often with the help of volunteers, through mentoring and counseling programs for young people and the annual Holiday Drive, which served more than 1,000 families in November and December.

Community policing and trust within the community remained the driving focus of the Rockville City Police Department. The RCPD collaborates with 13 civic associations throughout the city and maintains a strong Business and Neighborhood Watch program. The citizens police academy took 36 participants behind the badge to receive hands-on training and learn about all aspects of the police department. Officers once again organized and visited block parties across the city during National Night Out and, in April, the department held the largest Drug Take-Back Day to date.

The Department of Public Works kept community members informed about construction projects in their neighborhoods, and led programs such as Bike to Work Day and the Rockville Solar Co-op, which recruited 207 homeowners to install solar roof panels on their homes. The annual Equipment Show, in May, gave hundreds of families the opportunity to meet DPW staff and climb aboard some of the big trucks they use to keep Rockville running.

Community engagement was as big a priority as ever for Community Planning and Development Services, as the Rockville 2040 master plan update drew 500 community members to 30 listening sessions, and 110 attendees to four citywide forums, to plan for the city’s future.

The City Clerk’s Office/Director of Council Operations played perhaps its most important role in 2015, overseeing November’s historic election and successfully implementing the use of early voting, paper ballots and new voting equipment. The office also conducted two postelection forums to seek feedback about the 2015 election and begin planning for the 2019 election.

The City Manager’s Office also connected with the community throughout the 2015 election season, hosting a workshop for candidates, conducting voter registration drives and televising candidate forums. The effort helped maintain the same level of voter turnout between the 2013 and 2015 elections. The office also supported the Mayor and Council’s diversity initiative through diversity leadership workshops for students and adults, and the annual Martin Luther King Jr. and Lunar New Year celebrations. The office also sought to improve outreach to minority-, female- and disabled-owned businesses through a new Procurement Division initiative.

The Information Technology Department made it easier to engage with the city by upgrading the city’s institutional network, email and phone systems. IT implemented new systems for online permitting and for tracking requests for service, and deployed new GIS technology for use by city staff and community members.

The Human Resources Department provided expertise to the city’s Ethics Commission, worked collaboratively with the community to resolve claims made against the city and worked with the county to fill a newly created Project Search position, which offers training and jobs to young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The Finance Department, using feedback from the public, the Mayor and Council and the acting city manager, prepared the Fiscal Year 2017 budget, processed utility bills and interacted with customers on a daily basis through the service window at City Hall.

The City Attorney’s Office interacted with volunteers on the city’s 22 boards and commissions, providing legal counsel at meetings of those bodies, as well as at meetings of the Mayor and Council.