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Councilmember Nancy Navarro: Community Newsletter

Councilmember Nancy Navarro:
"Standing Up for All of Us"

Community Newsletter - Summer 2010


Nancy Navarro at the North White Oak Civic Association
Nancy Navarro Meets With North White Oak Civic Association

Contact Dolly Kildee to Schedule a Meeting With Your Community Group

Cleaning Up the Fiscal Mess

This year’s budget was the worst in Montgomery County’s history — and also my first budget as a Councilmember. Sadly, we knew this shared sacrifice was coming and would be necessary. In tough times, it is impossible to please everyone, but under these extraordinary circumstances, I honestly did my best to try and balance maintaining our quality of life with the harsh reality of our long-term budget problems. Although the cuts we approved were painful, we managed to close a $1 billion gap.

My top priorities included preserving Montgomery County Public Schools (including school nurses) and Montgomery College, respite care and health care services for the uninsured, transit services, and public safety.

In keeping with these priorities, I fought to fund:
  • Health Insurance: As a member of the HHS committee, I pushed for the restoration of almost $500,000 in healthcare services for low-income and uninsured residents, $70,000 in respite care funding, and $1.5 million for School Health Room Aides.

  • Community Colleges: I voted to restore $4.4 million to Montgomery College.

  • Safer Neighborhoods: I advocated forcefully for keeping the East County Police satellite station open, and managed to convince my colleagues to fund this item because I know how vital this substation is to the surrounding neighborhoods. Our office has been partnering successfully with the police and the Department of Transportation to address crime, speeding and pedestrian safety issues. Recently, the Department of Transportation conducted a traffic study pursuant to my request, and they are developing a strategy to implement traffic calming measures in the Briggs Chaney area.

  • Emergency Responders: I supported 4-person staffing for Fire & Rescue services.

  • Public Transportation: We preserved $2 million of proposed transit cuts, so that residents may continue to rely on Ride On to get to school, work and community activities.

Long-Term Solutions

Although we’ve finished the hard work of balancing the budget, our fiscal crisis is not yet over and next year promises to be difficult as well. So while we are implementing austerity measures and cutting spending, we are also looking down the road to a create a sustainable budget process. To that end, I co-sponsored Councilmember Berliner’s resolution to explore the consolidation and reorganization of county functions. We are also studying the County’s structural deficit and the causes of our fiscal crisis. In addition, the Council already voted unanimously to eliminate the so-called “phantom COLAs”, which would have cost the County $200 million over the next two decades.

My priority going forward is to work to solve Montgomery County’s long-term fiscal and structural challenges, so that it can remain vibrant, diverse and prosperous.

Bringing Jobs & Investment to East County

Since taking office, one of my main goals has been addressing District 4’s stark jobs-housing imbalance. Although I was very pleased to vote for the White Flint and Great Seneca Science Corridor Master Plans, in doing so I made clear to my colleagues that the economic development of Eastern Montgomery County must now be a priority.

Consequently, with the support of my colleague Councilmember Valerie Ervin, I was able to convince the Council and the Planning Board to expedite consideration of the East County Science Center Master Plan (formerly known as the Route 29 Corridor Land Use and Mobility Plan). The Planning Department will now begin consideration of the Master Plan this summer, and we can begin strategically thinking about a vision to move East County forward. In addition, the Glenmont Master Plan will move forward soon, along with a Burtonsville Neighborhood Plan, which will make recommendations on the town center area.

The East County Science Center Master Plan, in particular, will create a vision for an expanded, mixed-use Cherry Hill Employment Area with the goal of creating a life sciences center that builds upon the presence of the FDA in White Oak. It is intended to address the land use, urban design and transit access issues related to the future growth of the Cherry Hill Employment Area including the FDA, the proposed Washington Adventist Hospital, Site 2 (former WSSC site 2) and the Percontee property.

Eastern Montgomery County is a wonderful place to live, but because it has been primarily residential it lacks sufficient jobs and the amenities that go with them. This imbalance means that we must all drive farther to get to work, go out to eat, or even see a movie. In doing so, we exacerbate our traffic problems and erode our quality of life. The creation of the East County Science Center Master Plan is an important first step in addressing the long-term economic health of our community and ensuring its continued vitality.

Through careful planning in White Oak, Glenmont and Burtonsville, I know we can create a vision for District 4 that will bring jobs, better amenities, and more transit options for our residents.

Hi-tech Jobs in Montgomery County

Along with creating the land-use and transportation framework that makes biotech and life science job centers possible, it’s important to make sure the right economic incentives are in place to encourage job growth in these areas. This is why I was proud to cosponsor the “Biotech Investment Tax Credit” bill, which offers incentives for investment in emerging biotech companies. This incentive will help attract and retain innovative companies and ensure that Montgomery County continues to expand its biotechnology sector.

Welcome Our New Planning Board Chair

Recently, I voted with my colleagues to select Francoise Carrier as Planning Board Chair to replace Royce Hanson, who is retiring this summer after decades of service to Montgomery County, including two terms as Chairman of the Planning Board. The Planning Board Chair is one of the most important officials in the County, and Royce Hanson’s planning expertise and strong leadership in this role will be extremely difficult to replace. For this reason, I wanted to be certain that I voted to select the very best applicant to succeed him.

All the applicants interviewed by the Council were excellent and I was very grateful for their honest and thoughtful answers. However, Francoise Carrier was a stand-out candidate and her experience as hearing examiner at the Board of Appeals, combined with her temperament and judgment, convinced me that she was the best candidate for the role. I look forward to working with her closely on East County planning issues and am confident that she will do an excellent job.

Seniors: Pedestrian Safety and Transit Access

My office has been working closely with state and local transportation officials and senior groups to enhance pedestrian safety and ensure that all residents continue to have reliable access to public transportation.

In response to my request, the Department of Transportation has agreed to replace a damaged bus shelter in front of The Oaks at Four Corners and to provide a bus stop and shelter closer to Arbor Crest Senior Community.

I have also arranged a site visit with State Highway Administration officials, state representatives, and residents of The Oaks at Four Corners to demonstrate the difficulty in crossing University Boulevard at this location. In response to my request, SHA had evaluated the crosswalk there but continues to maintain that it is adequate. I would like community members to have a firsthand opportunity to demonstrate their difficulty with this crosswalk.

Working Together for District 4

 Since taking office, my staff and I have been working to build public-private partnerships that will fill service gaps without requiring additional funding.

Recently, I facilitated a meeting with the community superintendent and principals from the Northeast Consortium to discuss effective programming in the schools as well as gaps that continue to exist in addressing the needs of at-risk youth. As a result of this conversation, I was able to work with a faith-based organization, non-profit group, and elementary school to lay the groundwork for a new mentoring program at the school. This partnership is just beginning, but I will keep you apprised of its progress as it develops.

Thank You

Finally, I want to thank all the District 4 residents who shared their thoughts on the budget with me. Many of you recognized the difficulty the County is facing, and your comments were very helpful to me in setting my budget priorities. I would also like to express my gratitude to the thousands of Montgomery County Government, MCPS, Montgomery College and Park & Planning employees for their professionalism and dedication during these challenging times.

As always, my staff and I are here to help in any way we can and hope that you will contact us if you need assistance. Feel free to call with questions or comments--and if you need constituent services of any kind, contact my aide Alexis Reed at 240-777-7968.
How to Contact Me:

Email: councilmember.navarro@montgomerycountymd.gov
Web: www.NancyNavarro.info
Blog: NancyNavarro.blogspot.com
Phone: (240) 777-7968

Address:
Councilmember Nancy Navarro
100 Maryland Avenue
Rockville, MD 20850


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