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Efforts to Prevent Sewer Backups Keep Tax Dollars from Going Down the Drain

Rockville Staff Recognized for Efforts to Reduce Liability Claims

The City of Rockville did not pay a single dollar in liability claims due to sewer backups during the most recent fiscal year, after paying more than $94,000 in such claims just four years earlier.

The city also cut the number of claims filed by nearly half during Fiscal Year 2018, which ended June 30.

The 45 percent reduction in liability claims saves taxpayers money and is due in large part to Rockville’s Sewer Preventative Team, which meets monthly and includes representatives of the city’s engineering, operations and maintenance, environmental, geographic information systems, and safety and risk management divisions.

The success story has received regional attention, with city staff presenting how it was achieved during the Local Government Insurance Trust’s 31st Annual Meeting on Nov. 1 in Annapolis. The presentation team included safety and risk manager Marcus Odorizzi; deputy director of public works Judy Ding; GIS specialist Mike Onzay and operations maintenance superintendent Steve Sokol. LGIT members include 17 counties, 143 municipalities, 22 sponsored entities, the Maryland Municipal League and the Maryland Association of Counties.

Rockville actively seeks to limit sewer backups with rigorous preventive maintenance that includes high-velocity flushing, video inspection, root sawing, sonar system testing, grease inhibitors, root growth inhibitors, and lining or replacing piping.

To learn more about what the city does to prevent and, if necessary, respond to sewer backups, visit https://rockvillereports.com/sewer-backups-and-what-the-city-can-do-for-you.

Seeking Environmentalists to Be Recognized During Earth Month

Feb. 22 is Deadline for Nominations for Environmental Awards

The City of Rockville’s Environmental Excellence Awards recognize individuals and organizations that contribute to Rockville’s environmental health and sustainability.

Nominations are being accepted in the following categories through 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22 for awards to be presented during Earth Month in April:

• Outstanding Individual Environmental Stewardship.
• Outstanding Leadership in Environmental Practices.
• Outstanding Achievement in Green Building Technology/Design.
• Outstanding Environmental Education and Academic Achievement.

Eligible individuals must live, work or study within the city. Eligible organizations must have an office in Rockville or must be able to demonstrate significant operations within the city limits. Building projects considered as part of a nomination must be within the city.

The awards are presented to an individual or organization by the Mayor and Council. Nominations and supplemental materials are received by the Environment Commission, which reviews the materials and recommends awards to the Mayor and Council.

For more information about the award categories and guidelines, application forms and eligibility, visit www.rockvillemd.gov/
environment/awards
, email environment@rockvillemd.gov, or call 240-314-8870.

City of Rockville Recycling and Trash Collections 2019

Visit wwwrockvillemd.gov/collectionday to find your collection day by address.

Refer to this list for 2019 Recycling and Trash collection.

City Takes Steps to Fight the Opioid Epidemic

Rockville is not immune to the crisis of opioid overdoses gripping communities across the United States, and the city is taking steps to fight back.

Read More

City to Issue Guidelines for Small Cell Antennas

Rockville is issuing guidelines for wireless carriers to follow as they install small cell antennas as part of a next-generation 5G network that delivers faster internet and increases cell phone service coverage.

A Federal Communications Commission order, which goes into effect Monday, Jan. 14, preempts many aspects of the city’s ability to regulate the antennas. The order requires local governments to allow the antennas in the right of way; to act on applications to install antennas within 60 or 90 days, depending on the type of installation; and to publish aesthetic standards for the installation. It also regulates the fees that local governments can charge.

Small cell antennas can be a maximum of 3 cubic feet with up to 28 cubic feet of other equipment associated with them. They are intended to provide additional coverage in areas with a high volume of cell traffic, or to fill in areas with marginal coverage.

The city considered a zoning text amendment to regulate the antennas but put the measure on hold pending legislation debated last fall by the Montgomery County Council. On Oct. 30, the County Council president canceled a vote on the legislation. Since then, city staff has been reviewing the order, consulting with telecommunications experts and following how other jurisdictions are reacting.

The guidelines will be published by Jan. 11 at www.rockvillemd.gov/286.

Compensation Commission Seeks Members

Panel of 5 Recommends Salaries for Mayor and Council

It’s an opportunity to help the city you love! Five Rockville residents or business owners are invited to serve on the city’s Compensation Commission, which convenes every four years, before a city election, to determine annual salaries for the city’s five elected officials.

Before making a recommendation, and to help with its deliberations, the commission solicits input from city residents on various aspects of compensating the Mayor and Council, including how salary levels are determined and how frequently Rockville’s elected officials are compensated.

The commission is required by ordinance to make its recommendation to the Mayor and Council by March 31. The election for Mayor and Council will take place in November.

For more information on the Compensation Commission’s mission, and to view past recommendation reports, visit www.rockvillemd.gov/103.

Interested in serving on the commission? Fill out an expression of interest form at www.rockvillemd.gov/boardscommissions; call the City Clerk/Director of Council Operations at 240-314-8280; write to Mayor and Council, 111 Maryland Ave., Rockville, MD 20850; or email cityclerk@rockvillemd.gov.

Budget Hearings and Work Sessions Set

The Mayor and Council moved a discussion of their budget priorities to their Monday, Feb. 4 meeting and set budget hearing and work session dates for March and April.

Upcoming Fiscal Year 2020 Budget Calendar
Feb. 4: Mayor and Council Budget Priorities
Feb. 22: Release of FY 2020 Proposed Budget
Feb. 25: Presentation of FY 2020 Proposed Budget
March 4: Budget Public Hearing
March 18: Budget Work Session
April 1: Budget Public Hearing and Work Session
April 29: Budget Work Session
May 6: Adoption of FY 2020 Budget

To learn more about hearings and work sessions, find agendas when they are posted the week before each date at www.rockvillemd.gov/AgendaCenter.

An online survey allows community members to choose their budget priorities and offer suggestions, including ideas for increasing revenue, reducing or modifying services, decreasing costs, and improving operational efficiencies. Staff will compile the online submissions and periodically submit them for the Mayor and Council’s review and consideration.

For more information and to complete the budget survey, visit www.rockvillemd.gov/budget or call the Finance Department at 240-314-8400.

FY 2018 Reports Highlight City’s Finances

Summaries Offer a Look at the City’s Fiscal Health

Two annual reports that city staff delivered to the Mayor and Council on Dec. 10 give the public a closer look at Rockville’s financial health during the most recently completed fiscal year.

For Fiscal Year 2018, which closed June 30, the city ended “with an overall net position of $359.6 million, an increase of 3 percent over last year,” City Manager Rob DiSpirito wrote in the city’s Popular Annual Financial Report, a summary document highlighting the city’s finances.

The city maintains a triple-A bond rating. Triple-A is the highest possible rating and saves Rockville taxpayers money by allowing the city to borrow at the lowest possible interest rates.

“Our FY 2018 revenues remained strong, mainly due to increases of $1 million in property tax revenues and $312,000 in use of money and property. The city’s general fund reserve exceeded the FY 2018 target of $15.9 million by over $3.1 million, and our bond rating was reaffirmed at AAA/Aaa,” DiSpirito wrote. “Moving into FY 2019, city staff will continue to address the needs of the Rockville community, and will work to implement the Mayor and Council’s top priority initiatives.”

The city created the first PAFR in 2007 to explain, in layman’s terms, the information contained in Rockville’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. The FY18 PAFR describes:

  • The city government and services.
  • The city’s financial structure, including governmental funds, such as the general fund and the capital projects fund, and enterprise funds.
  • The overall financial health of the city.The city’s capital investments and debt.
  • Property taxes and utility rates, including how to read tax and utility bills.


The PAFR and CAFR available at www.rockvillemd.gov/budget. To view the presentation to the Mayor and Council, visit www.rockvillemd.gov/AgendaCenter and select the television icon next to the Dec. 10 meeting listing.

To learn more, call the Finance Department at 240-314-8400.

Mayor and Council to Hold Public Hearing on APFS Amendments

School Capacity Cap Could Lead to Residential Development Moratorium

The Mayor and Council will hold a public hearing, 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22 at City Hall, on possible amendments to the city’s Adequate Public Facilities Standards.

One of the proposed amendments would increase the school capacity test of the Adequate Public Facilities Standards from 120 percent of program capacity up to 150 percent for two specific areas of the city, the Town Center Performance District and the South Pike area near the Twinbrook Metro station.

The potential change would avoid a potential residential development moratorium in those areas due to school capacity projections set out in Montgomery County Public Schools’ recommended Fiscal Year 2020 budget. Other options are being considered that may not modify the program capacity test, while still avoiding a potential moratorium. Another proposed amendment would change when the schools test is done for project plan applications, from the time of project plan approval to the time of site plan approval.

Based on the yet-to-be-adopted MCPS budget, school capacity in the Richard Montgomery and Walter Johnson high school clusters, as of July 1, 2019, is projected to be over the 120 percent capacity limit at the high-school level in five years, which is the test outlined in the city’s APFS for all new residential developments. Because of those capacity limits, developers in those school clusters in Rockville would be unable to obtain approval for new residential projects. The proposal would potentially allow new residential development proposals in the Town Center and South Pike areas to be approved, if the revised school capacity test is met.

The Mayor and Council will also consider changes to the city’s Comprehensive Transportation Review, which is the adequacy test for transportation capacity. The proposed change would allow analysis of intersections controlled by the county or state to be based on the standards of the relevant jurisdiction, rather than the city’s standards.

The APFS and Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance were enacted by the Mayor and Council in November 2005 as a way to determine if the city could accommodate new development and redevelopment while ensuring the provision of transportation, schools, fire and emergency services, and water and sewer services. (The Mayor and Council eliminated the fire and emergency services tests from the APFS in November 2017.)

To watch the Mayor and Council’s Dec. 17 meeting on the APFS, visit www.rockvillemd.gov/AgendaCenter, and select the TV icon next to the agenda item.

To testify at the Jan. 22 meeting, call 240-314-8280 by 4 p.m. the day of the hearing or by submitting testimony in writing to cityclerk@rockvillemd.gov or City Clerk’s Office/Director of Council Operations, City Hall, 111 Maryland Ave., Rockville, MD 20850.

Rockville Mayor and Council meetings are broadcast live on channel 11 on county cable systems, live streamed at www.rockvillemd.gov/rockville11 and available a day after the meeting at www.rockvillemd.gov/videoondemand.

Mayor and Council Discuss Vacancy Process

The Mayor and Council will continue their discussion on Jan. 7 to determine the process to fill vacancies among members of the body.

At their Monday, Dec. 17 meeting, the Mayor and Council voted unanimously to clarify that the members of the Mayor and Council must continue residency in the city during their tenure in office.

They also voted to set Nov. 15 as the cutoff date that determines whether the Mayor and Council would hold a special election or votes among themselves to select a candidate to fill the vacancy. Additionally, should the vacancy be in the office of the mayor, the Mayor and Council clarified that councilmembers must choose a new mayor within a month of the vacancy occurring.

To watch the Dec. 17 meeting, visit www.rockvillemd.gov/AgendaCenter and select the TV icon next to the meeting listing, which also links to the meeting’s agenda packet, with more details about the amendments.

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