Rockville City Council Agenda: Signs, Fireside Park and Hearings on Ethics and Housing Aid
The quarterly finance report and votes on contracts for water dechlorination tablets and auto parts also are on deck.
Public hearings on the city’s ethics ordinance and on city aid to nonprofits, the introduction of changes to the city’s sign ordinance and a discussion of a Rockville Housing Enterprises proposal to purchase Fireside Park Apartments are on the Rockville City Council's agenda for Monday.
Ethics ordinance hearing
The Council is scheduled to hold a public hearing on proposed changes that would bring the city’s ethics ordinance in compliance with a new state law.
The proposed changes include:
- A prohibition on the use of confidential information acquired by virtue of public office.
- A clarification that allows officials to accept unsolicited gifts.
- Provisions addressing conflicts of interest regarding entities doing business with the city.
- New financial disclosure requirements for public officials.
Community Development Block Grants hearing
The Council also is scheduled to hold a public hearing on its upcoming application for the federal Community Development Block Grant program.
The program provides grants for providing suitable housing, neighborhoods and economic opportunities to low- and moderate-income residents.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has cut funding to the program in recent years but has not proposed any further cuts for the next round. The program gave the city a total of $211,312 in the current round.
On Aug. 6, the Council voted to allocate 100 percent of the expected grant dollars to Rockville Housing Enterprises for public housing renovations and to the city’s program for providing aid to low- and moderate-income households to rehabilitate single-family homes.
The move effectively cuts support to nonprofit programs not engaged in housing activities.
Grants due by the year’s end include $31,690 to four nonprofits: the Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center, the Korean Community Service Center, Manna Food Center and Stepping Stones Shelter. It also includes $78,464 to Rockville Housing Enterprises for public housing renovations and $101,158 to the city program to rehabilitate single-family homes.
Nonprofits may still apply for aid in the next round, but it must go toward providing housing.
The deadline for public testimony and applications is Oct. 3. Applications and comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Rockville City Hall, Office of the City Clerk, 111 Maryland Ave., Rockville, MD 20850.
The Council is scheduled to make final decisions on aid on Nov. 5.
The Council is scheduled to introduce proposed changes to the city’s sign ordinance that would allow Federal Realty Investment Trust to install off-premise signs at Rockville Town Square that are not permitted under current city sign regulations.
The Council held a public hearing on the changes on July 23.
The revisions set quantity and size limits for off-premises signs and eliminate a proposal to allow a rooftop sign extending above the roofline. City staff recommended against that change.
The changes would be limited to Rockville Town Square, which Federal Realty owns and operates, “but approval of these changes could set a precedent for similar requests in other areas of the city,” city staff said in a report.
City planning commissioners have said the proposal “highlights the need for a full review and revision of the sign code,” according to a report by city staff.
In recommending against the proposed changes, city staff agreed that a comprehensive review of the ordinance is needed.
The city continues to consider changes to the sign ordinance with input from the Rockville Chamber of Commerce.
Fireside Park Apartments proposal
The Council will discuss whether to loan $2 million to Rockville Housing Enterprises for the $36 million purchase of the Fireside Park Apartments.
Quarterly finance report
The Council is scheduled to receive a briefing on the city’s finances for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012, which ended June 30.
The report shows the city’s unaudited general fund unassigned fund balance—or “rainy day” fund—at $9,901,086, which is 15.2 percent of the total fiscal 2013 adopted revenue budget.
“These funds provide a cushion to allow the City to continue to provide services even under the most strenuous financial conditions,” the report says.
City policy calls for maintaining the fund at 15 percent. The current balance “exceeds the target balance of $9,795,855 by $105,231,” the report says.
The Council is scheduled to vote on two consent agenda items:
- The award of a contract for up to five years and $250,000 to USABlueBook of Waukegan, IL, for dechlorination tablets used to treat the city’s water supply.
- The award of a contract rider for up to five years and up to $375,000 for the procurement of automotive parts and supplies for the city’s vehicle fleet. The rider is to a contract between CARQUEST Auto Parts and the City of Charlotte, NC, through the U.S. Communities Co-Operative. Under the contract, the Rockville would be served by an independently owned CARQUEST Auto Parts store on East Gude Drive.