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Building Safety Month Highlights Importance of Modern Building Codes, Strong Code Enforcement

May is the 39th year for Building Safety Month, a campaign to raise awareness about safe and sustainable structures. This year’s theme for the international campaign is “No code. No confidence.”

“Building Safety Month is a chance to celebrate the entire building safety community and to educate others about the importance of the codes to each and every one of us,” International Code Council Board President William Bryant said. The ICC promotes Building Safety Month each year.

On Monday, April 29, the Mayor and Council were scheduled to issue a proclamation declaring May as Building Safety Month in Rockville.

“[T]he City of Rockville recognizes that our strength and growth depends on the safety and economic value of our homes, buildings and infrastructure that serve our community, both in everyday life and in times of natural disaster,” the proclamation states.

Most U.S. communities, including Maryland and the City of Rockville, have adopted and enforce ICC codes and standards. In Rockville, the Inspection Services Division regulates state-mandated building codes and ordinances by issuing permits and contractor licenses, reviewing plans, and inspecting all phases of residential and commercial construction, to ensure buildings and structures under construction are safe, code-compliant and in conformance with approved plans.

Each week of May is dedicated to a different aspect of building safety:

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Street Paving Scheduled to Begin in May for Neighborhoods East of MD 355

The city is scheduled to resurface roads in the East Rockville and Twinbrook neighborhoods, beginning in mid-May and continuing for about four months, depending on the weather.

“No parking” signs will be posted within 48 hours of the start of work. Temporary traffic stoppages are necessary for safety but should have minimal impact on traffic. The schedule is subject to change based on weather conditions and coordination with other utility work.

Paving occurs in three phases and will take place between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. The first phase involves milling, to grind down the existing asphalt surface. Street access may be blocked for five- to 10-minute periods to move equipment or work near driveways. Residents are asked to follow flagger directions and be patient. A vacuum sweeper truck will closely follow the milling operation to remove loose material.

The second phase involves lowering or raising existing utilities, such as manholes and water valves, to the new street grade, and patching and repairing the asphalt base. This work may begin before the first phase is complete.

In the third phase, new asphalt is placed from curb to curb. This moves more slowly than the milling operation and may have greater impact on access to and from driveways. Immediately before placing the hot asphalt, the contractor will spray a tack coat of liquid asphalt onto the street surface in segments about 500 feet ahead of the paving machine. Do not attempt to drive through this liquid asphalt, as it may damage tires, stick to vehicles and be tracked onto driveways.

The new asphalt surface is applied at a high temperature – generally about 200 degrees. It is immediately rolled for compaction, cools quickly and is safe to drive on about 10 minutes after compaction rolling is complete. If paving operations are close to your driveway, check with the construction crew before attempting to drive onto the street. Pedestrians should use extreme caution and children should never be allowed to play around the new surface on the day it is placed.

Rockville streets are evaluated and maintained through the asphalt maintenance program, which is funded annually through the city’s Capital Improvements Program. Rockville repaves streets to create a smoother drive for motorists and to preserve the integrity of roads.

Visit to learn more and find updated paving schedules.

RedGate Discussion to Continue at June 17 Mayor and Council Meeting

The Mayor and Council will hold a follow-up discussion, Monday, June 17, on the former RedGate Golf Course property.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the Mayor and Council chambers at City Hall, 111 Maryland Ave.

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Making A Welcoming Space for Inmates and Their Kids

Program Helps Pre-Release Clients be Stronger, More Confident Parents

For Kate Bouwkamp, the stark tile floors, plastic chairs and glass and metal walls of the visitation room at the Montgomery County Pre-Release Center were far from the kind of supportive environment soon-to-be free clients needed to best bond with their children.

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Vendors Wanted for Rocktobierfest

The city is seeking vendors, especially of German-themed crafts, for Rockville’s second annual Rocktobierfest celebration, which is scheduled for 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5 in Rockville Town Center.

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Public Input Sought on Accessory Structures

A workshop will be held in May so the public can learn more about proposed revisions to regulations that govern accessory buildings, apartments and dwelling units.

The workshop will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 29 in the Mayor and Council chambers at City Hall, 111 Maryland Ave.

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See Where It All Starts at Public Works Week Equipment Show

Display of the City’s Big Trucks Moves to Stepanek Park

Rockville will join the American Public Works Association to celebrate National Public Works Week from Monday, May 20-Friday, May 24

The highlight of the week will be the annual Equipment Show from 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Thursday, May 23. This year’s show will be held at Mattie J. T. Stepanek Park, 1800 Piccard Drive, due to renovations at the Rockville Swim and Fitness Center (see page 9), where it has traditionally been held. Kids – and kids at heart – will be able to climb into the operator’s seat of some of the big trucks used by the city’s Department of Public Works.

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State Legislative Winners: Schools, Roads and Renewable Energy

Increased funding for schools, roads, and preserving local authority related to small cellular tower infrastructure were among the wins for Rockville during the 2019 Maryland General Assembly session that concluded April 8.

Lawmakers approved funds for addressing growing enrollment and overcrowding in county schools. That included a one-time infusion of $25.9 million to Montgomery County through a state grant program focused on school systems with significant enrollment growth. Ultimately, the county is expected to receive more than the $59.2 million in state aid for school construction assumed in County Executive Marc Elrich’s recommended capital budget for Fiscal Year 2020, which begins July 1.

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Mayor and Council Seek Comments on Sign Ordinance Revisions at Public Hearing

Revisions to how Rockville regulates commercial signs are open to input from the public at a hearing before the Mayor and Council at 7 p.m. Monday, May 13.

The purpose of the proposed revisions is to address some regulatory issues and allow for more flexible designs.

The original sign code was enacted to minimize visual clutter along Rockville Pike. The proposed revisions are intended to respond to modern signage needs, while maintaining an aesthetic view for residents and visitors to the city.

Under city code, all temporary or permanent commercial signs require a sign permit, unless specifically exempted.

See a staff report on the proposal at

To testify, call 240-314-8280 by 4 p.m. the day of the hearing or submit testimony in writing to or City Clerk’s Office/Director of Council Operations, City Hall, 111 Maryland Ave., Rockville, MD 20850.

Mayor and Council meetings are broadcast live on channel 11 on county cable systems, livestreamed at and available a day after the meeting at

Agencies: Rockville’s Financials Are ‘Strong,’ Expect Outlook to ‘Remain Sound’

Reaffirmation of Triple-A Bond Rating Will Save Money

Two rating agencies recently reaffirmed the city’s “triple A” bond rating and expressed confidence in the city’s financial outlook.

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

In awarding the triple-A rating, the agencies showed confidence in Rockville’s ability to meet its financial obligations, cited the city’s conservative fiscal management, its strong policies and practices, ample reserve levels and low direct debt burden.

“The city maintains a strong track of conservative budgeting and strong financial results, due in our view to a very strong management team with embedded formalized financial policies and practices, as well as very strong economic characteristics,” Standard & Poor’s said in its ratings report.

Moodys Investors Service expects the city’s rating outlook to remain strong. “The outlook reflects the expectation that the city’s financial position will remain sound given demonstrated trends of operating stability, fiscal monitoring, and adherence to formal policies,” Moody’s said in its report.

“Moving forward, I can assure you that the city’s Finance staff will continue to give you guidance and make recommendations that are consistent with these statements,” Gavin Cohen, the city’s chief financial officer, said in an email to the Mayor and Council, reporting the ratings.

On April 3, the city sold $14.8 million in general obligation bonds to FTN Financial Capital Markets at a 2.55% interest rate. The bond proceeds will be used to finance ongoing water main rehabilitation and improvements citywide; upgrades and expansion of the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority’s Blue Plains Wastewater Treatment Plant, which treats the city’s wastewater; and the purchase and renovation of 6 Taft Court, a three-story building on 2.29 acres of land, where the city will relocate its maintenance and emergency operations from the Gude Drive Maintenance Facility on Rothgeb Drive.

The Mayor and Council are scheduled to vote Monday, May 6 on the adoption of a proposed $138.5 million budget for Fiscal Year 2020, which begins July 1.

For more information on the city’s budget, visit

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