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On the Agenda: Preview of Rockville’s 2015 Budget

Also, Duball LLC is expected to brief Rockville City Council on its desire to nearly double the number of residences at Rockville Town Center site.

FILE | Rockville Patch
FILE | Rockville Patch

Tonight, the Rockville City Council will get its first preview of the city’s 2015 budget, which projects flat property tax revenue, no additional debt, and rate hikes for utilities.

The council meets 7 p.m. tonight at Rockville City Hall. The city's budget office is expected to offer a glimpse of the draft budget, setting the tone for what could come.

According to a staff report, the draft budget assumes the city won’t take on more general debt, though there is a recommended transfer of $5.5 million to cover the city’s yearly payments, including the second of three $500,000 payments to Montgomery County for the $1.5 million loan to Rockville Housing Enterprises to buy Fireside Park Apartments, city records show.

Property taxes, which account for the largest portion of the city’s revenue, are expected to generate $3 million. Property taxes are expected to stay the same, at 29.2 cents per $100 of assessed value.The personal property tax rate is also expected to stay at 80.5 cents per $100 of assessed value.

That said, Rockville residents could pay more for utilities—$76 more a year under this initial draft budget, which includes rate hikes for water, trash, sewer and storm water management fees. 

Rockville’s fiscal year begins July 1. 

The Mayor and Council will get a more detailed preview in February. The budget will be officially introduced in March.

The full report is posted at the city’s website.

In other news: Briefing on proposed changes to Town Square project

The Rockville City Council will be briefed on a proposal that would nearly double the amount of residences approved for a project in Rockville Town Center.

Led by developer Duball LLC, the two-phase project is already underway and was estimated to cost $100 million, Patch reported in 2012.

The first phase is under construction on Montgomery Avenue, across from the movie theater. The 144-foot tall building will accommodate a hotel with rooms and 263 residences. There will also be 23,1000 square feet of retail space. 

The proposed changes pertain to the second phase of the project, a 173-foot tall building next door. That project was approved for 222 residences and 22,200 square feet of retail. But now the developer wants to add 178 more residences—nearly doubling the amount of units by offering smaller living spaces, according to records submitted to the city. 

The application claims that current market demand is for smaller apartments.  

The Rockville Planning Commission raised several concerns about the proposed changes, including the potential impact on traffic, parking, and school enrollment.

The proposed 178 units would result in more students, surpassing the school capacity limits set by the city’s Adequate Public Facilities Standard for Beall Elementary School and Julius West Middle School.

What was approved included 566 “structured parking spaces” for the second building, city record show. The developer also wants to reduce the amount of residential parking by 40 percent.

The Mayor and Council is not expected to take any action on Monday.

The Planning Commission still has to formally review the proposed changes and submit a recommendation before there is a final vote. The developer has the opportunity to make changes to its proposed revisions, based on the feedback it gets.

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If you go … 

The Rockville City Council meets 7 p.m. Monday at Rockville City Hall. Agendas are posted at the city’s website, RockvilleMD.gov. Meetings are broadcast live on Rockville 11 and online.

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