TOWN COUNCIL NEWS
Next meeting: Monday, May 21, 2018; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. The public is invited to attend this Organizational Meeting. Actions at the April meeting included:
- introduction of Ordinance 2018-02; Authorizing the Sale of Land Occupied by Main Buildings Initially Constructed in Part on Land Owned by the Town of Washington Grove
- introduction of Ordinance 2018-03; Adopting Town Budget and Tax Rate for FY 2019
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING
The Washington Grove Town Council will hold a public hearing on Monday, June 11, 2018, 7:30 p.m., in McCathran Hall, 300 Grove Ave, Washington Grove, Maryland. The purpose of this hearing is to take public comment on proposed Ordinance 2018-02. This ordinance would allow for the sale of land occupied by main buildings initially constructed in part on land owned by the Town of Washington Grove. Copies of the proposed ordinance are available for inspection upon request to the Town of Washington Grove, P.O. Box 216, Washington Grove, MD 20880 or 301-926-2256.
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING ON BUDGET ORDINANCE
The Town Council will hold a public hearing on Monday, May 21, 2018 at 7:30 pm in McCathran Hall. The purpose of this hearing is to take public comment on proposed Ordinance No. 2018-03. This ordinance would adopt the Town Budget for the Fiscal Year July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2019, and levy an ad valorem tax on all assessable property within the Town of Washington Grove. Action on this ordinance would comply with State requirements to adopt the budget via an ordinance, and follow up presentation and voting on the budget at the Town Meeting. Copies of the proposed ordinance are available for inspection upon request to the Town of Washington Grove, P.O. Box 216, Washington Grove, MD 20880 or 301-926-2256.
Town elections will be held on Saturday, May 12, from 4:00-7:00 PM. Any Town resident registered to vote in Montgomery County is qualified.
This year there are four Council seats open: two three-year terms, one two-year term and one one-year term. Absentee ballots are available from Meredith Horan only through May 2, ten days before the election. A written request for an absentee ballot accounting for the voter’s unavailability during voting hours is required. Meredith can be reached at 127 Maple Avenue or PO Box 337.
Nominations have closed. The candidates are: Mayor, one-year term: Joli McCathran, John Compton. Council, three-year term: Charlie Challstrom, Marida Hines, Joan Mahaffey. Council, two-year term: Robert Gilmore. Council, one-year term: Darrell Anderson, Joseph Craig English.
A heartfelt thanks to all candidates willing to run for office and help to govern the Town. Please vote on Saturday, May 12, in the Council Room of McCathran Hall between 4:00-7:00 PM. Election results are reported at that evening’s annual Town Meeting.
Annual Town Meeting
This year’s Annual Town Meeting is set for May 12, 2018 in McCathran Hall at 8:00 p.m.
Town Council Recommends FY 2019 Budget
Mayor Joli McCathran presented a draft budget to the Council for their March 26, 2018 work session. Priorities include continued implementation of the 2015 Forest Stewardship Plan, McCathran Hall foundation repairs, road resurfacing, restoration of walkways, and completion of the National Register Historic District Update.
The Town Council has recommended a budget and tax rate for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2018. Anticipated income and recommended expenditures for the coming year (July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019) are shown on the attached Town budget summary. The Council recommends the Town property tax rate increase from $0.255 to the constant yield tax rate $0.262/$100 assessed valuation. The constant yield tax rate represents the real property tax rate for the coming tax year that will generate the same amount of revenue as generated during the current tax year. The dwelling unit charge, which is tied to the cost of trash and recycling collection, is proposed to increase from $117 to $130 per dwelling per year to reflect the increased cost of a new three-year contract. Copies of the budget detail will be available at Town Elections and at Town Meeting on May 12, and are available now at the Town Office.
Questions may be directed to Treasurer Mary Challstrom at 301-926-4498 or Mayor Joli McCathran at 301-869-5358. Votes to adopt the proposed budget and tax rate will be taken by qualified voters assembled at the annual Town Meeting on Saturday, May 12. See you there!
From The Mayor…
Governor Larry Hogan visiting with Town officials on April 13, 2018.
Scott Hancock, Executive Director of the Maryland Municipal League, is on the far left.
Governor Larry Hogan accepted my invitation to visit Washington Grove. While here, he presented the Town with a Governor’s Citation which states, “Be it known: That on behalf of the citizens of this State, in recognition of a well-deserved tribute to honor and celebrate the history of Washington Grove – a place originally described as a ‘town within a forest,’ an oasis of tranquility; and as the people of Maryland join in expressing our great respect and admiration for one of Maryland’s most charming and picturesque communities, we are pleased to confer upon you this Governor’s Citation.” This citation is in the Town office. We escorted the Governor on a short walking tour of Washington Grove explaining the history of the Town. He specifically requested to visit Political Hill. It was an honor to have Governor Hogan visit the Town of Washington Grove.
Town Information: Here is a listing of links to Town information. The Town web site is at https://washingtongrovemd.org. Information on Council actions, meeting minutes, and monthly reports from all standing Committees/Commission are promptly posted on our web site at: https://washingtongrovemd.org/town-government/. Likewise, Committee/Commission actions can be found at: https://washingtongrovemd.org/town-government/commissions-committees/. Information and significant actions by the Mayor and Council are summarized in the Town Bulletin and is sent to every resident each month and is posted on the web site. The direct link is: https://washingtongrovemd.org/current-bulletin/. There is much more information on our web site.
Note: The Town’s annual budget, deliberated during numerous Council meetings open to the public, is available @ https://washingtongrovemd.org/town-government/financial-budget/. Residents will be voting on the FY-2019 budget at Town Annual Meeting on May 12.
All Committee and Council meetings are open to the public. We highly encourage, as you will see on the various pages, all interested residents to attend these meetings. We always seek resident input.
Refuse and Recycling Contract: The Town entered into a new 3-year contract with Potomac Disposal for refuse and recycling services. Starting on Thursday May 3rd, Potomac Disposal will be using a “split body” or “double packer” compressed natural gas service vehicle to provide trash and recycle services. To see the information sent to the Town on their refuse and recycling operations for Washington Grove, please see: Potomac Disposal pdf: https://washingtongrovemd.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Trash-Recycle-Processes-as-of-050318.pdf.
Historic Designation: Beginning this week and throughout the summer months you may notice the presence of unfamiliar people carrying notebooks, cameras, iPads and maps. These are employees of Robinson & Associates, a D.C. based historic preservation consulting firm. They have been hired by the Town to update Washington Grove’s Historic District designation. If you have any questions or want more information about this project, please feel free to ask them or to contact the Historic Preservation Commission.
Joli A. McCathran, Mayor
Planning Commission News…
Next meeting: Wed, May 2, 2018; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. All meetings are open to the public.
Modification to Building Permit Process
The Planning Commission is changing the building permit application deadline to the 2nd Wednesday of the month prior to the PC meeting at which the permit will be reviewed (this will be in the following month). This timing ensures the HPC will be able to complete a formal review before the PC meeting as this review is required for the PC to approve the permit in a timely fashion.
If you are considering any renovation or building project (including fences) at your house, be sure to get a copy of the procedures to apply for a Town Building Permit which will help you through the Town’s process.
Historic Preservation Commission News…
Next meeting: Tuesday, May 15, 2018; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. All meetings are open to the public. See Mayor’s info. for Historic Designation update.
Maple Lake News…
Next meeting: Thursday, May 10, 2018; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. All meetings are open to the public.
Summer is just around the corner! Maple Lake is a great venue for your party, wedding, or other assemblage. Just follow the link https://goo.gl/forms/g10fJ2Qo0oTJJFcN2 to make it official.
New this year: permits will be issued via email and party hosts will have to print and produce them at the time of the party.
Contact Emily Brown Elouisebrown@gmail.com if you have questions.
Lessons will be offered from July 2nd – August 3rd from 12:00 – 3:00 p.m. Please sign up by June 24th at: https://goo.gl/forms/Ab78g8bPXs6HBAQf2
Safety at the Lake
To minimize problems with vandalism, outside visitors and other problems, we will be monitoring the lake more frequently checking on the fence and surrounding area. Please do NOT tell young children or outsiders what the combination is, and always lock, and spin the tumblers on the lock after opening it. Call John Hutchinson or Bruce Rothrock if you notice any maintenance problems.
Please report every incident of suspicious behavior, vandalism or criminal activity to the police at the non-emergency number: 301-279-8000. The police use the log of these calls to determine how closely to patrol an area. They have asked us to report all incidents. Please also alert Neighborhood Watch to any such incidents.
Forestry & Beautification News…
Next Meeting: May 9, 2018; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. All meetings are open to the public. This will be our last meeting before our summer hiatus (June, July, August) then we’ll start up again September 12 to plan for the fall planting season.
Amur or Bush Honeysuckle (Lonicera maakii) in Washington Grove
In the 120 years since its introduction into the U.S. bush honeysuckle has become one of the most common and invasive plants in the mid-Atlantic region. It impedes reforestation of cut or disturbed areas and prevents reestablishment of native plants. It leafs out earlier than most natives and forms dense thickets too shady for most native species. The carbohydrate-rich fruit is attractive to birds, but does not provide the nutritional value of lipid-rich fruits of native species that provide energy needed by migratory birds.
At the soil level, Amur honeysuckle increase densities of soil organic carbon and nitrogen, related to alteration of microbial community composition. Leaf litter decomposition is altered in its presence, and the plants produce allelopathic chemicals that inhibit the growth of native plants such as sugar maple seedlings. The species reduces mycorrhizal fungi found on the roots of native plants and hence the uptake of nutrients. Amur honeysuckle plants can modify ephemeral wetlands and habitat availability for amphibians by increasing water loss rates.
Amur honeysuckle threatens several Maryland species listed as threatened and endangered, including veiny skullcap, white trout lily, tall dock, tall tickseed, riverbank goldenrod and leatherwood. Deer preferentially use areas invaded by Amur honeysuckle, increasing the abundance of ticks in those areas and increasing the resulting risk of human exposure to the bacterial pathogens ticks carry, in particular ehrlichiosis (a flu-like illness that can last for several weeks).
The State of Maryland has classified Amur honeysuckle as a Tier 1, non-native invasive species that causes severe harm within the state (https://mda.maryland.gov/plants-pests/Documents/LoniceraMaackii_WRA_012216.pdf). By law, you cannot propagate, import, transfer, sell, purchase, transport, or introduce any Tier 1 invasive plant into Maryland.
It is easy to identify by its vertically ridged and furrowed bark, hollow terminal stems, opposite 2-3 inch long leaves, 1 inch long trumpet shaped flowers, and paired, bright red fruit. Bush honeysuckle is found throughout Washington Grove: in our yards, along our streets and avenues, and in our parks and woods. For all the above reasons, the Forestry and Beautification Committee has initiated a trial program of mechanical (non-chemical) removal of bush honeysuckle on Town property and replacement with a range of native shrubs and small trees. An initial effort will be the bush honeysuckle on the south side of Center Street between Maple Avenue and the Maintenance shed. We plan to stagger the removal of honeysuckle and addition of native trees/shrubs in spring and fall of 2018.
Due to the large volume of bush honeysuckle in Washington Grove this project will proceed in gradual stages and is expected to take years to accomplish. During this lengthy process notice of project areas will be highlighted in the Town Bulletin. Residents adjacent to a project area will be contacted in advance to solicit their input. The Town will be developing a list of possible replacement plantings for consideration. This will focus on native plants to restore habitat for our native birds, insects and small mammals.
Woman’s Club News…
“Victorian Spring” the Washington Grove 2018 Flower Show
Sunday May 20th
The Clubhouse is open for entries from 8:15-10:15 a.m. All participants are invited to bring as many entries as desired.
Judging is from 10:15-12:30 p.m.
No admission during judging
The Clubhouse with entries is open to the public from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Awards will be presented at 3:45 p.m.
All entries should be removed at 4:00 p.m.; any remaining at 4:30 will be left on the porch for pick-up.
Annual Progressive Porch Party
Saturday, June 23rd is the date. Mark your calendars! Once again, we need volunteers to host this event on your porches. If you can help us with this, please contact Sylvia Appleby at email@example.com or 301-926-9064.
As you enjoy your summer travels, please remember that we will again be collecting those nice little bottles of shampoo, soap and such that your hotel rooms provide. Our fall Outreach Program will be filling bags with these and other items for the Gude Men’s Shelter.
Recreation Committee News…
Next Meeting: Wed., May 23, 2018; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. This meeting is open to the public.
Shall We Dance?
Betsy and Al Taylor, callers for Taylor Made Squares, are starting a dance group in Town. Would Monday or Wednesday night be better for you? If you want to join our newly forming group, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us your preference. Questions? Call 301-977-8937.
Tai Chi Returns
Tai Chi continues on Saturday mornings, after the winter break. Wear comfortable shoes and come do Tai Chi in silence together at the basketball courts 9:00 am on Saturday mornings, beginning May 5th. Claire Rosser will provide some instruction, but the goal is to follow her modeling the Yan long form and learn as you continue to practice. No session if it is raining or the temperature is below 40 degrees. FREE! For more information contact Meredith Horan at 301-926-1054 or email@example.com
Washington Grove Methodist Church News
Our joyful family worship services are Sunday mornings at 11:00 AM, at the Washington Grove United Methodist Church, 303 Chestnut Road, Washington Grove, MD 20880 (301-947-0532).
Woods Committee News…
Next meeting: Monday, May 7, 2018 at 7:30 PM in the Council Room. All meetings are open to the public. Our June meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 4.
The joint Woods Committee and Lake Committee workday on Saturday morning, April 21 was a huge success! Close to 30 volunteers of all ages showed up on a beautiful morning. Volunteers cleared and cleaned the lake area for the summer season. Volunteers in the West Woods picked up a truckload of trash around all our borders, mechanically pulled Japanese barberry and other non-native invasive plants, and installed deer protection and mulch around our new tree plantings along our Saybrooke boundary. Thank you, one and all! It was a demonstration of the Washington Grove spirit at its best.
Thank you also to residents who called Montgomery County about the litter build-up along Washington Grove Lane. Washington Grove Lane is a County-maintained roadway. In the past there has been a Town volunteer group who regularly cleared litter from the roadside. Sadly these volunteers are no longer available. If you are interested in forming a new work group, please contact Joan Mahaffey or Patty Klein.
The Woods Committee has been active over the past year and continues to work to revitalize our woodlands. Please attend the Annual Town Meeting on May 12 to hear our plans to preserve our Town within a Forest.
Emergency Preparedness Committee
Next Meeting: Thursday, May 24, 2018; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. All are welcome to attend.
We are also looking for new committee members. If you are interested in helping the Town be prepared for emergencies, please join us! Contact the Town Office if interested; 301-926-2256.
Meet the Candidates and Town Leaders
On Sunday, May 6, six days before the Town elections in McCathran Hall at 3:00 P.M. Please join us! This is your chance to meet the candidate
Washington Grove Cares
It looks like spring has finally come and the Grove is looking beautiful. Anyone need help or advice to plan or organize a garden, or tackle a spring cleaning task? Looking for a ride to a medical appointment, or to the Metro? Post your request on the WGC calendar and, while you’re there, take a look at what others have posted. Recently, Town residents have connected with their neighbors through the WGC calendar for light dog care, pickup of kids from the school bus stop, and a ride to a medical appointment. For newcomers to Town, WGC is a good way to meet your neighbors. Check out the calendar at washingtongrovecares.org or call 240-813-3316.