Monthly Legislative Update
On July 12th, the County Council will conduct a long-awaited public hearing on the amendment to the Woodmont Triangle Sector Plan. This is our chamber's top land use priority. Years of effort by our organization, the entire Bethesda community, the Planning Board, and the Council are reflected in this updated plan, which will revitalize the Woodmont Triangle in view of current needs and conditions. Members of our chamber will be leading a broad array of witnesses testifying in support of the proposed amendment. The Council will then conduct worksessions on the plan, and hopefully final approval will occur later in the fall.
County Budget Process
We are pleased to report that the FY05-06 County budget approved by the Council at the end of May reflects, in a large part, input from our chamber and treats favorably the goals and priorities that we articulated. Most important is the fact that the Council was able to achieve a thoughtful, well-balanced budget while keeping within the basic real estate tax limits specified in the County Charter. This is the first time in several years that the Council did not override these limits. We strongly supported the Council's decision to exercise restraint
One of our chamber's top priorities is a well-balanced county and regional transportation system reflecting both roads and transit. In this regard, the Montrose Parkway is a vital component of Montgomery County's overall transportation plans and programs. We are pleased to report that our chamber played a key role in helping to defeat an effort that arose in May during the Council's budget deliberations to postpone county action on the Montrose Parkway. A few days later, we testified at a hearing before the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in support of this critical project.
Preliminary steps have been taken to begin a regional dialogue on proposals for long-term Metro funding. Since an effective transit system is one of our chamber's top concerns, we expect to follow closely and participate in these discussions. We are on record before the County Council expressing our intention to be involved with this issue. We expect details about specific proposals to be available this fall.
Future Chamber Priorities
Each year, with the change of administrations, our chamber updates our list of legislative and public policy priorities. Our leadership retreat to accomplish this will be held on July 20. We will then publish and distribute to our members and to public officials our revised list of priorities for 2005-2006. Members having particular issues and concerns that they feel should be addressed are urged to let us have their thoughts and suggestions.
By virtue of our active involvement and advocacy efforts, representatives of our chamber are well known to Montgomery County public officials. However, nothing takes the place of face-to-face interaction from business owners and employees for effective influence on public issues. As we move into our coming program year, we expect to rely to a greater extent on our overall membership to assist in testifying and working with elected officials.
Bethesda Parking Warning - Tickets For Feeding Meters Short-term meters on the streets, in public garages and on surface lots, combined with the long-term parking in the public garages, account for the more than 7,000 available parking meters in downtown Bethesda. The purpose of short-term parking is to generate turnover, thus, increasing the effective number of available parking spaces. This is designed to assist the businesses, stores and restaurants that require parking for walk-in customers throughout the day. Although "feeding meters" (adding more coins after exceeding the time limit on the meter) has always been against the law, the Department of Public Works and Transportation is obtaining a new technology which will more easily identify meter "feeders." The County has now implemented this technology in Bethesda. The first ticket for "meter-feeding" will reflect $0 and every ticket thereafter will result in a $40 fine. For more information about the new enforcement technology, please contact Parking Operations, DPWT at (240) 777-8740.
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