At its Monday, December 13, 2021 meeting, the Rockville Mayor and Council will discuss three design concepts for Rockville Metro station, use of nearly $6 million in ARPA funds, and determine 2023 budget priorities. This is a worksession and will not offer public hearings or a community forum, but it will be streamed live if you are interested in these topics.
WMATA is presenting three conceptual designs for the Rockville Metro Station and surrounding WMATA-property based on community visioning sessions held in May as well as with the Mayor and Council and the chair of the Planning Commission. The vision is that the “Rockville Station will become an iconic gateway and multi-model hub that connects the greater area, enhances the experience of downtown Rockville as a destination, and maximizes safety for commuters and residents.” The biggest challenges are providing bus service and better integrating the pedestrian bridge over MD355. Each conceptual design includes a site plan, benefits, and challenges.
The City of Rockville has about $5.7 million remaining from their grant from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) which can be used for government services, premium pay for essential workers, COVID mitigation efforts, assistance to small businesses and households, and infrastructure investments. So far, the Mayor and Council has spent more than $1 million to pay for delinquent water and sewer bills and more than $2.5 million for water infrastructure improvements. Under discussion is increasing developer incentives for affordable housing; preventing evictions of 752 low-income households by paying past-due rent; supporting caregiver agencies; improving the King Farm Farmstead (such as electrical undergrounding, fire suppressions, and stabilization of the historic farm buildings, a project that should have been required of the developer); renovating bathrooms to accommodate the disabled; additional renovating for the Lincoln Park Community Center; improving Washington Street for pedestrians and cyclists (called the “Town Center Road Diet”); reconstructing the intersection of Stonestreet and Park Road (near the Rockville Metro Station); developing a flood mitigation plan (oh, climate change); and shifting the city to electric vehicles. My suggestion is that when you receive one-time revenues, you spend them on one-time expenses; otherwise, you’ll be committed to ongoing expenses without the ongoing revenue. I’d also consider projects that only the city can do, can be levered through partnerships, or will have the greatest impact on the community as a whole.
To help prepare the FY2023 Budget, the Mayor and Council developed a survey in October to quickly rate their responses and gauge priorities, to which only David Myles, Bridget Newton, and Mark Pierzchala responded (Beryl Feinberg was out on medical leave, Monique Ashton did not participate). Only three of eighteen items received support from all three. Mayor Newton called it, “the most difficult budget survey in my 11 years on the Council.” Expect more Congressional stalemate, including a councilmember that’s playing the part of Senator Kyrsten “No Position” Sinema). Sigh.
More details in the 59-page agenda packet available at https://www.rockvillemd.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_12132021-6430.