Summer Dish From The Commish

Summer 2017 Edition 


 

Dear friend,

Since my last newsletter in April our country has been whipsawed by rapidly changing statements and policy changes out of Washington D.C. and tragic events like those in Charlottesville, VA two weeks ago.

Commenting on recent events I said, “Creating a moral equivalency between hate-mongers like the KKK and other white supremacist groups and those who stand up in opposition to racism and anti-Semitism is just plain wrong.”  Listen to my entire statement here.

In a testament to the strength of our community, individuals and organizations from across Montgomery County and our region have stepped up to create opportunities for public discussion, sharing, and learning.  In addition to several peace and unity vigils following the events in Charlottesville, I have participated in community gatherings focused on immigration, health care reform, gerrymandering, and civic engagement. 

I am continually inspired by this community and both humbled and honored to lead it.

All the best, 

Val


 

Climate Change

In June, Commissioner Ken Lawrence and I joined hundreds of mayors and county officials in reaffirming our commitment to reducing the carbon footprint of Montgomery County.  Thanks 

to the County’s efforts to curb greenhouse emissions over the last 10 years, we avoided emitting a total of 136,502 metric tons of CO2 equivalent from County buildings and facilities. By focusing on reduction of energy consumption, environmentally friendly transportation (like biking to work!), recycling, and open space preservation we can continue to curb our emissions.


Buy Local

Preserving as much of the County’s 30,000 acres of farmland as possible is a priority, and this year I supported the allocation of $1.1 million to protect this land.  These County dollars enable us to receive an additional $2.6 million of state farmland preservation funding.  We’ve used this funding to make offers to 9 family farms resulting in the preservation of a total of over 400 acres.  This brings us to a total of 159 farms preserved, covering 9,351 acres across the County.  Montgomery County farmers give us access to healthy, local foods and conserve our prime agricultural land.  Find a farmer's market near you.


County Finances Strong

I am pleased to report that thanks to strong fiscal management on both the revenue and expense side, the County ended 2016 with a small surplus. The fiscal health of our County is an important factor in our ability to continue to provide the services, resources, and infrastructure that make Montgomery County such a great place to live and work. 


No Place Like Home

The County is working hard to reduce homelessness and when it does occur, to make it rare, brief, and non-recurring.  In June, I was very pleased to announce that in partnership with Your Way Home, the County’s coordinating housing crisis response team, the County has reduced its homeless count by 33 percent.  This effort takes a “housing first” approach — quickly securing permanent housing for at-risk populations, and making supportive and financial services accessible to prevent future risk of homelessness. Current preventative efforts are focused on helping those who are on the verge of becoming homeless. Since 2013, Your Way Home has helped nearly 3,000 people.


MontCo Growing

It is critically important to property owners, employers, and to our tax base that Montgomery County continues to grow.  It is crucial that we direct Country growth in a planned way so that open space is preserved and sprawl minimized.  I am pleased with a recent report from our Planning Commission showing increases in both housing units and commercial spaces being built. Very importantly, the vast majority of this development is happening in locations consistent with our MontCo 2040 Comprehensive Plan to preserve open space. 



Growing Download an App and Save a Life

Montgomery County PulsePoint Respond is a free app that is connected to the County’s 911 call center.  Whenever there is a call for cardiac arrest occurring in a public location, anyone who has the app and is within a quarter mile of the location of the call will receive a notification, allowing them to rapidly respond and perform CPR.  The app also shows the location of the nearest automatic external defibrillator (AED).  Bystander CPR (mouth-to-mouth breathing no longer required) and use of AEDs save lives.  If you don’t already know this simple CPR technique, this is a great reason to learn!


 

Get a Breath of Fresh Air and Relax!

If you haven’t signed up for the 2017 MontCo Trail Challenge it’s not too late!  You have until December to sign up and visit up to 15 trails.  It is easy, fun and free – and you earn recognitions!

 


 

 

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