Council Ooffice Building

Montgomery County Council Meets on April 23

A bill that would revise the provisions of Montgomery County’s five-cent excise tax on disposable bags will be introduced before the County Council during the Council’s general session that will begin at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, April 23. Bill 10-13 would limit the tax to bags distributed at food stores. It also would repeal the tax on plastic food take-out bags.

The Council will meet in the Third Floor Hearing Room of the Council Office Building at 100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville. The general session, four public hearings scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. and a meeting of the Government Operations and Fiscal Policy Committee beginning at 2 p.m. will be televised live by County Cable Montgomery (CCM—Cable Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon). The broadcast also will be streamed through the County Web site at

The County’s tax on bags went into effect on Jan. 1, 2012. Councilmembers Roger Berliner, Nancy Floreen and Craig Rice are the sponsors of Bill 10-13 that would modify the bag tax. The bill defines food stores as any retail store where food consists of more than two percent of gross sales by dollar value. The tax would continue to cover non-food items purchased at stores that meet the definition of a food store.

A public hearing is tentatively scheduled on Bill 10-13 for 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 18.

During the general session, Bill 11-13 also would be introduced. The bill, which is sponsored by Councilmember Berliner, would establish a Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy Program to assist qualifying commercial property owners in making energy improvements and to establish a revolving loan fund to provide loans to the property owners under the program. Property owners receiving loans would repay the amount borrowed through the County property tax bill.

A public hearing on Bill 11-13 is tentatively scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 11.

The Council’s Government Operations and Fiscal Policy (GO) Committee will meet at 2 p.m. for a worksession on the Fiscal Year 2014 budget request of the County’s Ethics Commission. The review is part of the Council’s examination of the recommended budget presented by County Executive Isiah Leggett.

In April and May, the Council will review the Executive’s recommended budget as it works toward adopting the FY14 County operating budget in late May. The budget will go into effect on July 1.

The Ethics Commission administers the County’s Code of Ethics by encouraging and enforcing compliance. It also ensures ethical conduct of employees of the County’s Executive Branch, the Council, selected boards and commissions, the County Revenue Authority, the Housing Opportunities Commission, local fire corporations and rescue squads. The commission also serves in an advisory role to the Washington Suburban Transit Commission.

Among the activities the Ethics Commission oversees are financial information disclosure, outside employee and lobbying registration.

Stuart Rick, chair of the Ethics Commission, and Robert Cobb, executive director of the commission, are expected to attend the session.

The GO Committee also will look at the budget requests of the Merit System Protection Board and the Division of Procurement.

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