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Forum on Foreclosure

County

There is a forum for the community on property foreclosure, including confidential counselors to help you understand and work through the process. The event is Saturday October 11th, from 10 until Noon, in Montgomery Village.
See http://www.reznikformaryland.com/custom?key=904 for more details. This is an event sponsored by Delegate Kirill Reznik of district 39, I couldn’t find any information on a similar event sponsored by our delegates.

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Many Transportation Projects In Jeopardy

County, ICC

Nancy Floreen alerts us to the cancellation of the Georgia Ave./Randolph Road intersection improvements, along with several others.  Is anyone surprised that the ICC project has dried up most transportation funds?  Wasn’t this predicted by ICC opponents?

We need to get serious about transportation funding.  We know that delaying projects leads to higher costs in the long run while canceling them altogether would lead to environmentally destructive sprawl and crippling congestion.  Some folks may think we can’t afford costly transportation projects, but we really can’t afford a future that leaves commuters paralyzed by gridlock and isolates the emerging business sectors of the state.  To learn more, visit my blog, and let me know what you think. (from “Nancy at Large”)

It is interesting to note that the Georgia/Randolph intersection was identified as the county’s second transportation priority as far back as 2004.  Now it’s pushed back at least 3.  The ICC project has trumped all things transportation and does so little to improve traffic in the county.

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SHA Munching Through Forest

County, Images

The State Highway Administration is tearing through Tree Eating Machinesacres of old woods as fast as they can, moving into Phase 2 of the ICC project even before woods are cleared for Phase 1. As this picture shows, they either have a lot of timber clearing equipment idle or they’re worried the project will get stopped judging by the pace they are running. This picture was taken 7/13, and the clearing was enough for their equipment and a road through to the east. In one week the clearing is now as wide as the entire ICC right of way as far as you can see.

Residents of the Norbeck area of the county are now bracing as this tree clearing moves to take most of the trees from some of our neighborhoods.

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URGENT!!! ICC To End in Norbeck!

County

In a stunning surprise, the State Highway Administration has decided to exit phase one of the ICC (270 to Georgia Ave.) directly at Baileys Lane in our neighborhood.  See this link for information from the state.

SHA claims this was done with discussions with surrounding communities, but obviously this did not happen with the community most directly impacted - ours!  We are currently collecting information on this situation plus how you can respond as soon as possible.

Please monitor the RSS feed for this site, or send Email to info@norbeck.org to make sure you are notified of updates.

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Think Tank on Property Tax Reliance

County

Council member Nancy Floreen is sponsoring a discussion on property tax.  If you would like to participate, see below.  I’m not sure if there is another discussion for those who think property tax is the proper primary source of county income.
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Please join me, along with civic, business and elected leaders to look at ways of reducing Montgomery County’s reliance on the property tax as a primary revenue source.

Think Tank: New Ideas to Reduce the County’s Reliance on the Property Tax
Thursday, June 19, 7:00 PM
Executive Office Building, Lobby Auditorium
101 Monroe St. Rockville

To view the invitation, click here.

Regards,
Nancy Floreen

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Making Sense of Montgomery County’s Carbon Surtax

County

Can’t be done.

How do you resolve the environmental language of the proposed “carbon surtax” with support for the Inter-County Connector?

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Montgomery County Council Building Case to Introduce Many Increases in Taxes

County

In a recent newsletter from Council member-at-large Nancy Floreen, a volunteer working group looking at financing of public works projects has come up with several recommendations:

  • Obtain state authorization for a local option motor fuel excise tax, motor fuel sales tax, or motor vehicle registration fee.
  • Enact new local excise tax on non-residential commuter parking spaces.
  • Increase the recordation tax rate.
  • Increase the rates and coverage of impact taxes for financing “new capacity” projects.
  • Endorse the Council’s decision to maximize the use of general obligation debt to a level that maintains the AAA rating.

If your keeping score, the five leading ideas are increase gas tax, increase parking tax, increase recordation tax, increase impact taxes, and borrow money (increase future taxes). No ideas on saving money, reducing county services, selling off county white elephants, or moving funds from less effective projects.

We’re obviously pulling volunteer working group members from the same pool we get politicians from.

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MSHA’s Deforestation Program Continues

County

Efficiently provide mobility for our customers through a safe, well-maintained and attractive highway system that enhances Maryland’s communities, economy and environment. - Maryland State Highway Administration’s Mission Statement

Efficient, adjective: productive without waste

As part of the of $2,400,000,000 (current projections) of construction expense the Maryland State Highway Administration is spending to build the Inter-County Connector (the “ICC”), MSHA provides a regular newsletter to inform, assist, and engage the public during the ICC project. In the summer 2007 issue they proudly proclaim that they deal fairly with property owners whose homes they take, and that they carved out 370 million dollars to protect the environment. Neglected in this propaganda is announcing the impact to property owners whose homes they do not take but are adjacent to the project, and of course the acres and acres of old growth forest they will cut down for the highway and its adjoining environmental projects. It is difficult to overlook the salt they are rubbing in the wounds by peppering us with the PR campaign to heap praise on themselves.

However, the point of this message is to point out the contradiction in the Administration’s own mission statement and the project itself. We would remind everyone that the word “efficient” carries a clear meaning that a job is being done without waste, that the dollars being spent are being spent in the best way they could. Given that the state’s own report pointed out that the project will have a negligible impact on traffic, and does not tie the county to the rest of the state in the most direct route possible, and that billions of dollars of needed county transportation projects have been identified with no mechanism to pay for them, the ICC project goes against the mission statement of the very people that are hired to fulfill that mission statement.

To be complete, there are very powerful forces aligned in favor of the project. The county politicians are desperate for some solution to traffic, and the ICC plan is a convenient path to lay asphalt without having to think of a real solution. And, the Washington Post reported that many timely campaign contributions align with candidates’ position on the project. The engineers at MSHA live for a major project like the ICC - maintenance and improvement of the existing roads is not very exciting. The developer community is poised for new areas of the county opening up for sprawling subdivisions. And, the county’s control by a single political party offers little opportunity for both debate as well as public disclosure of planning. Frustrated drivers have little to argue with new roads being built, their anger leaving little time for thinking about the benefit to them of a 2.4 B$ driveway to a shopping center in Prince George’s county - and for a toll as well.

But in the end, county residents going to county jobs will still average 10 MHP as they spend almost an hour for what they thought was a local commute. Our elected leaders will still ask for new ideas and new task forces for a solution they promised us they already had. And, the ICC will eventually be justified as all the commuters that live on the other side of it use it since its the only road between them and wherever they need to go. What would have been nice would have been a comparison of the ICC project with Metro expansion, or some “Intra”-County Connector, or few more bridges connecting Maryland with Virginia, or some new vision on how to develop the county without sprawling sparse housing out past any ability to use roads for transportation.

Just a thought…discuss amongst yourselves.

(Next time: Root Cause Analysis)

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Leggett Now Pro-Gambling

County

Making the trade-off that gambling revenue would be better than a tax increase, the county pursues a “quiet pro-gambling” approach as reported in the Washington Post. (account may be needed, link expires)

Leggett’s Strategy On Slots: Hushed

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Leggett Press Release on Growth Policy Recommendations

County

May 23, 2007 (released about 2 PM)

Statement by County Executive Isiah Leggett on Planning Board’s Draft of Growth Policy Changes

“Our Growth Policy is broken and needs to be fixed. That’s why the Montgomery County Planning Board’s work on proposed changes to that policy is a welcome contribution to a critical debate.

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