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2022 City of Rockville Year in Review

JANUARY
For a fifth consecutive year, and for the 10th anniversary of the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index, Rockville scored a perfect 100 out of 100 marks for the city’s commitment to health, welfare, safety and equality of its lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community.

Rockville was looking ahead to the 2022 session of the Maryland General Assembly, forwarding state legislative priorities that included authorization of electronic legal notices, education funding, protecting homes and businesses from the state’s proposed project to widen Interstate 270, and combating climate change.

The Mayor and Council amended the city’s Moderately Priced Dwelling Unit program to increase Rockville’s affordable housing supply. The expansion and preservation of affordable-housing opportunities in Rockville are among the Mayor and Council’s top priorities.

The new year brought a new law regarding lawn care in Rockville. The Mayor and Council had voted in 2021 to allow Montgomery County’s pesticide law to apply in the city, effective Jan. 1, 2022. The law restricts the use of certain pesticides on private lawns, playgrounds, mulched recreation areas and child care facilities, prohibiting most synthetic pesticides.

Metro’s Rockville and Shady Grove stations reopened after a four-month shutdown to repair and replace the stations’ aging canopies.

Rockville joined the ranks of hundreds of U.S. cities as the Mayor and Council approved the city’s first plan for addressing climate change. The Climate Action Plan sets forth 26 community actions and 16 city actions to reduce climate-warming pollution and foster resilience, especially for the city’s most vulnerable neighborhoods.

City police announced that residents can safely dispose of unused, unwanted or expired medication, with no questions asked, in a new prescription drug drop box in the front lobby of the Rockville City Police Station, 2 W. Montgomery Ave.

FEBRUARY
The Mayor and Council voted to increase development fees across the board by an average 2.5%, starting in February, to address increased expense from development-related city services and the cost of new efficiency-oriented technology. Building fees had last been updated in 2018. Development fees had remained unchanged since 2011.

The Mayor and Council decided on a preferred concept for the future of the 131-acre RedGate Park that included an amphitheater, community gardens and renovating the existing clubhouse.

MARCH
Rockville City Hall reopened with provisions in place to protect the health of Rockville employees and the public and prevent the spread of COVID-19, having been closed since March 14, 2020. City government had continued virtually throughout the pandemic.

¿Hablas español? Rockville city police employees who speak multiple languages became eligible to earn extra pay under a new city program that pays a stipend to multilingual members of city law enforcement.
Rockville’s Mayor and Council played a vital role in a big win for county municipalities in March, helping to secure money to reimburse incorporated towns and cities for property tax duplication collected by Montgomery County.

City staff presented details of Rockville’s Flood Resiliency Program to the Mayor and Council. The citywide program, which provides property owners with grants for building improvements aimed at preventing flood damage, is part of the city’s plan to mitigate the impacts of flooding caused by more frequent and extreme storms. Funding for the plan and grant program is included in the city’s Fiscal Year 2023 budget.

Contractors installed new energy-efficient light-emitting diode, also known as LED, lights with occupancy sensors at City Hall. The project upgraded 325 interior light fixtures on the second floor, including 256 sensors to reduce energy costs, maintenance and greenhouse gas emissions.

APRIL
Rockville’s Procurement Division debuted a new gateway offering tools to make it easier for vendors to do business with the city. The eSourcing and Vendor Collaboration Gateway allows vendors to submit electronic bids and proposals and conduct procurement via an online portal at www.rockvillemd.gov/procurement.

Two community meetings in April allowed the public to give their thoughts on proposed alternatives for the future of the 131-acre RedGate Park.

The Mayor and Council unanimously approved the creation of an 11-member Education Commission to support City of Rockville students. The commission is intended to maintain and grow collaborative relationships among the county’s board of education, Montgomery County Public Schools, private and nonprofit schools, Montgomery College, parent-teacher associations, private and nonprofit school boards, home-school communities, and providers of early child care and education programs in Rockville.

MAY
Tyree Davis IV joined the City of Rockville to help further the Mayor and Council’s priorities of establishing equity and inclusion as shared values. Davis’ formal title is “Advisor to the City Manager for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.” This new position is the first of its kind in Rockville government.

The Mayor and Council in May adopted a $148.8 million city budget that maintained city services, addressed COVID-19 pandemic recovery, and focused on priorities such as implementing the Comprehensive Plan, environmental sustainability and the Climate Action Plan, Vision Zero, economic development, and financial sustainability.

JUNE
The city’s Department of Public Works held a dedication ceremony for their fleet’s newest machine: a paver dedicated to the life and legacy of Wayne Butler Jr., a public works streets crew supervisor who died in February.

The Mayor and Council cut the ribbon to open two new soccer courts at Welsh Park. The courts are the first dedicated soccer courts of their kind in Rockville. They are adjacent to the park’s tennis courts, and Rockville Swim and Fitness Center, at 355 Martins Lane.

Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton and city staff welcomed Mithran Karthic, winner of the “If I Were Mayor…” essay contest, to Rockville City Hall. Mithran, a fourth-grader at College Gardens Elementary School, earned the right to serve as Rockville’s Mayor for a Day, fielding his first on-camera interview and visiting the Rockville City Police Department, the city’s maintenance facility, and Croydon Creek Nature Center, before attending the evening’s Mayor and Council meeting.

JULY
The Fox 5 morning show brought its Zip Trip live broadcast to Rockville Town Square to highlight Montgomery County and the City of Rockville.

The city celebrated a milestone July 11 as the Department of Public Works Department replaced Rockville’s last low-flow fire hydrant. The achievement, nearly a decade-and-a-half in the making, underscores the Mayor and Council’s commitment to maintaining Rockville’s infrastructure through its water main rehabilitation program.

The Good Neighbor Awards, held July 19 at Glenview Mansion, recognized 23 residents who gave back and improved the quality of life in their neighborhoods through good deeds or community service.

The Mayor and Council adopted an ordinance that applies Montgomery County’s home energy disclosure and radon testing laws to the sale of single-family homes and townhomes in Rockville. The change provides home buyers with access to important home health and energy information. It takes effect Sunday, Jan. 1.

AUGUST
In their ongoing fight to bring awareness to the national impact of opioid addiction and signal hope for recovery, Rockville’s Mayor and Council proclaimed September as National Recovery Month at their Monday, Aug. 1 meeting. Lights at City Hall, the Rockville City Police Department headquarters and other city facilities once again shone purple throughout September.

SEPTEMBER
The City of Rockville was awarded an American Planning Association Award from the APA’s National Capital Area Chapter for Excellence in Planning for the city’s Rockville 2040 Comprehensive Plan. The award highlights the significant and successful efforts of the Mayor and Council, Planning Commission, staff and community, along with numerous other stakeholders, to produce a document that lays out Rockville’s vision for its future.

With the arrival of the fall planting season in September, city contractors began landscaping as the final phase of improvements to the Mt. Vernon stormwater management facility. Mt. Vernon Place reopened to through traffic in late August after city contractors replaced a culvert at the stream crossing near Elwood Smith Park’s baseball/softball field and deepened portions of the pond to increase the stormwater management facility’s water quality treatment capacity.

The Mayor and Council celebrated the reopening of Parkside Landing Apartments in September. Originally built in 1961 as Fireside Park Apartments, a 2018 fire destroyed three of the buildings, comprising 32 apartments, displacing families. The property has been owned by Rockville Housing Enterprises, the housing authority for the City of Rockville, since 2012.

The Mayor and Council thanked Rockville’s volunteers for serving our city, during an appreciation party on Sept. 14 at Glenview Mansion. More than 2,600 volunteers helped in Rockville during the fiscal year that concluded June 30, resulting in an estimated savings to the city of more than $1 million.

OCTOBER
The F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Festival honored acclaimed National Book Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Powers with the 2022 F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Achievement in American Literature. The award has been presented to some of America’s most distinguished writers, including Richard Russo, Annie Proulx, Norman Mailer, Pat Conroy, John Updike, Joyce Carol Oates, Grace Paley and Amy Tan.

NOVEMBER
Rockville’s Holiday Drive returned. For nearly a half century, through the Holiday Drive, the city has brought the community together each year to provide food baskets, gift certificates and toys to needy Rockville families throughout the Thanksgiving and December holidays.

DECEMBER
See December’s highlights in this edition!

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