Increased funding for schools, roads and seniors, and the preservation of aid for youth programs, were among the wins for Rockville during the 2018 Maryland General Assembly that concluded April 9.
Lawmakers approved legislation focused on addressing growing enrollment and overcrowding in county schools. That included a one-time infusion of $25.9 million to the county through a state grant program focused on school systems with significant enrollment growth. Ultimately, the county is expected to receive close to the $59.2 million in state aid for school construction assumed in County Executive Isiah Leggett’s Fiscal Year 2019 county budget proposal.
Rockville will also receive about $2.1 million in highway user revenue for road maintenance and small infrastructure improvement projects. This is the sixth consecutive year the state has provided a one-time restoration in the revenue, which was cut during the Great Recession. However, legislators approved a five-year plan that, when it begins in Fiscal Year 2020, will increase the city’s projected share to nearly $2.7 million. The increase will help pay for bridge rehabilitation projects.
A state bond bill will give the city $200,000 toward Americans with Disabilities Act-related improvements to the entrance and key parts of the Rockville Senior Center.
The Fiscal Year 2019 state budget preserves funding for youth services bureaus. Rockville’s Community Services Division is a youth service bureau partially funded by the state. It provides prevention and intervention services to at-risk youth.
Lawmakers also approved another city priority, giving state and local governments the authority to deny Maryland Public Information Act requests for distribution lists containing street and email addresses, and phone numbers, used for sending government news, informational notices or emergency alerts.
A bill, opposed by the city, that would have severely restricted municipal authority to assert local control over the siting and installation of small cellular antennas, or distributed antennae systems, and to impose a fee for permit review and rental of space in a municipal right of way, was withdrawn. It is the subject of ongoing, informal discussions.
For more details on the city’s state legislative priorities, contact Linda Moran at [email protected] or 240-314-8115.