VIDEO: Marcuccio Launches Her Re-election Campaign
The mayor outlined her record and her view of city government in an announcement that included a surprise appearance by the Town Square Plaza water works.
Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio announced on Friday that she would stand for re-election during a campaign kickoff at Rockville Town Square Plaza that included endorsements from several former and current mayors and that was interrupted when the plaza’s fountain suddenly sprang to life.
Marcuccio, who defeated Mayor Susan Hoffmann in 2009, said that she would “continue to champion a citizen-driven government.”
She listed efforts during her term to make city government more inclusive, including appointing a Communications Task Force, assigning City Council members to serve as liaisons to city boards and commissions and taking council meetings to the Twinbrook, Lincoln Park and Woodley Gardens neighborhoods.
Marcuccio received endorsements from Gaithersburg Mayor Sidney Katz, Sen. Jennie M. Forehand (D-Dist. 17) of Rockville and former Rockville Mayor Steven VanGrack.
The city holds nonpartisan elections in odd-numbered years for the four seats on the City Council and for mayor. This year’s election will take place Nov. 8.
“Gaithersburg and Rockville realize that our problems do not begin and end at a line on the border," said Katz, addressing the crowd. "We actually have to work together and need to work together to really have a better quality of life for all of our citizens and Phyllis has certainly been a great part of that.”
Katz, who has served as Gaithersburg’s mayor since 1998, said that he has endorsed candidates for Rockville mayor in the past.
“They’re your friends,” he said in a brief interview.
Katz told the crowd that Marcuccio is someone "that I talk to often. We give each other advice and use each other as sounding boards. It’s very comforting to know that Phyllis is there working for all of us.”
Marcuccio took credit for organizing a first-of-its-kind joint meeting of the Montgomery County Council and the Gaithersburg and Rockville city councils and zeroed in on a “common issue” for the municipalities—the Great Seneca Science Corridor Master Plan, also known as the Science City plan.
The plan calls for up to 17.5 million square feet of commercial development and up to 9,000 residential units in the Shady Grove area between Rockville and Gaithersburg.
“Now, think about Rockville Pike and its traffic. Oh my," said Marcuccio, who has expressed concern that the new development—just outside Rockville's city limits—could bring the city traffic congestion without new tax revenue.
Marcuccio also discussed the city’s efforts to enforce its Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance, which seeks to ensure that transportation infrastructure, public schools, fire and emergency service and water and sewer service, can sufficiently handle the impact of new development.
The school system’s effort to build two portable classrooms at College Gardens Elementary School led the county delegation to the General Assembly to consider a bill that would have overridden the APFO. The bill would have given the county the exclusive authority to issue building permits and enforce regulations and codes associated with county school construction.
“It took a lot of cooperation from the part of the staff, from the part of the council, on the part of everyone," Marcuccio said. "Gaithersburg assisted us. We all had to work to see if we could somehow diffuse that terrible bill. And, with the help of a great number of individuals, it was withdrawn.”
Marcuccio also touted the City Council’s successful effort last fall to push the county school system to study the feasibility of expanding schools in the Richard Montgomery cluster and building a new elementary school at the former Hungerford Park Elementary School site on West Edmonston Drive.
Marcuccio, an at-large member of the Maryland Municipal League’s board of directors, also took credit for her role in the organization’s successful push to get the General Assembly to restore $13.2 million to repair and maintain local roads. Rockville received $709,800 million in so-called highway user revenue in fiscal 2012, which begins July 1, after receiving $114,801 in fiscal 2011.
The groundbreaking of a new Rockville City Police station at the old U.S. Post Office in Town Center and the identification of uncollected tax revenues that the city was eligible to collect in King Farm and—beginning in 2014—from Woodmont Country Club, were among other achievements for city government that Marcuccio highlighted.
Marcuccio intended to discuss future challenges for the city, including the Rockville Pike plan and the city budget, but her speech was cut short when the fountain at Town Square Plaza suddenly activated, sending supporters scrambling for dry ground a half-hour before Marcuccio said the announcement event was supposed to end.
According to a draft of her speech, Marcuccio intended to pledge her opposition to adding to the city’s debt by borrowing any more money and her opposition to tax or fee increases.
The $107.2 million fiscal 2012 city operating budget approved last month holds the residential and commercial property tax at 29.2 cents per $100 of assessed value but did not include a $100 homeowner tax credit that had been included in the four prior budgets. Supporters of the credit say that failing to include it in fiscal 2012 amounts to a tax increase.
Marcuccio and Councilman Piotr Gajewski—who is opposing Marcuccio in her reelection bid—voted against the budget. Marcuccio, who had unsuccessfully proposed reducing the tax rate to 28.9 cents per $100 of assessed value, said that it she voted against the budget because it raised taxes.