Montgomery County government prepares for new year, new challenges

Maryland

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — This time last year, local lawmakers were planning for 2020 with no idea of the challenges that lied ahead of them. Heading into 2021 with more challenges, and hope on the horizon, lawmakers are laying the groundwork for next year.

After a year of legislation and policy dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic and following the recession, newly-elected Montgomery County Council President Tom Hucker reflected on what the county government was able to get done last year.

“I’ve had constituents ask, ‘why are you doing anything about the environment or transportation when you should be focused on the recession?’ Well, we are, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have thousands of government staff that are still moving ahead on their work plans,” said Hucker.

In 2020, the council passed over $250 million in COVID-19 related appropriations, while also moving unrelated housing, racial equity, and education bills through the legislative process.

“We have been moving forward, at a significant pace, a number of key pieces of legislation that address the unique place in time that we’re in as a community,” said the council’s new Vice President, Gabe Albornoz.

He says the council will look at several bills from a different perspective next year.

“One of those is 5G technology and expanding Wi-Fi access. With distance learning for students, there are significant deserts of internet access in our community that are compounding the challenges of distance learning,” said Albornoz.

The council will take a recess starting at the end of this week, and will reconvene again in January.

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