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2017 will be another great year for the Montgomery Village community. Many are looking forward to the opening of the new leisure pool at Apple Ridge, redevelopment progress on the former golf course and the Village Center, enhancement to play facilities at Lake Whetstone Park and so much more. A measure of a community’s strength is how its residents and leaders address challenges and opportunities in constructive and positive ways. The Montgomery Village Foundation (MVF) is here to facilitate problem solving, community building and dialog with government and other stakeholders to continue to make Montgomery Village a great place to live, work, learn and play.

There are always many issues to report on, but these are a few of current priority.

M-83 (Midcounty Corridor Study) Update
By now, the county was supposed to have released two studies for the county council to consider that could assist them in their decision making on midcounty transportation project(s). Last year, the county executive requested that DOT study the master planned MD 355 Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) alignment (Shady Grove Road to Redgrave Place) and Alternatives 2 and 5. This study will examine whether the combined improvements will satisfy the transportation demands of the study area and meet the purpose and need of Midcounty Corridor Study (MCS) without constructing the extension of Midcounty Highway (M-83).

At the urging of County Council Staff Member Glenn Orlin, the county council approved funding for an additional study known as the Combined MD 355 BRT and M-83 Mid-ground Study. This study includes the master planned MD 355 BRT alignment (Shady Grove Road to Redgrave Place) and a two-lane peak-hour directional parkway along the master planned Midcounty Highway (Ridge Road to Montgomery Village Avenue).

This study will examine whether the combined improvements with a much smaller footprint of M-83 will satisfy the transportation demands of the study area and meet the purpose and need of MCS. In addition, an independent MD 355 BRT Study for the 22 miles from Clarksburg to Bethesda is being performed by the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) and Maryland Transit Administration (MTA). The SHA/MTA study provides the needed travel modelling to evaluate the two new studies.

According to council staff, the executive will release the studies to the county council in late January or February, and that is when they will be available for public review. The MVF Board will take up this issue at an upcoming meeting.

State legislature has convened
The Maryland General Assembly convened on Wednesday, Jan. 11. The broader issues legislators will address include the $500M state budget deficit; funding of important capital projects such as the Watkins Mill Interchange; addressing the fracking moratorium, which will expire in 2017; and reconsidering legislation that almost passed last year providing part time employees statewide with earned sick leave.

Staff, the MVF Board and other COA and HOA leaders will be working with our own District 39 team and other legislators on bills that are filed during the session. Some we will support, and others we will oppose or seek amendments. Thus far, three bills have been filed by Delegate Holmes and will be heard before the Environment and Transportation Committee in the House of Delegates:•    House Bill 41 (Statewide registration of HOAs/COAs)
•    House Bill 34 (HOA Resale Inspection Fee)
•    House Bill 26 (Notice of Foreclosure Sales from Lender to HOA/Condo)

Lake Whetstone Riser Structure Repair Update
The county’s contractor has finished the concrete work, which will have to cure on the structure for about 30 days. The large equipment located next to the riser will remain until inspections show that the work was completed satisfactorily and the steel cage structure, which prevents larger items from entering the riser, is reinstalled. This cage structure was refurbished as well.

The water level in the lake will be brought back to normal levels once the riser structure work is completed. MVF staff have been removing large unnatural items from the lake shore while the water level has been low. Residents are reminded not to enter the lake at any time.

Collections Progress
The results are in, and 2016 results continued the trend of year-after-year lower delinquency rates, from 8.5 percent in December 2015 to 8.0 percent in 2016. Comparably, delinquency rates have now dropped back to the lowest level since Q4 2007. For the third straight year (since implementation of the revisions to the Collection Policy in 2014), delinquency rates were lower at the end of the year than they were at the end of the first quarter of the same year.

If you have suggestions or comments, please e-mail me at dhumpton@mvf.org.