District 1 January-February 2015 Newsletter

District 1 News
A Strong Voice for Strong Communities

Councilwoman Mary Lehman
County Council District 1
14741 Governor Oden Bowie Drive
Upper Marlboro, Maryland 20772
Dear Neighbors:

In December I was honored to be sworn in as your District 1 County Council representative for a second, four-year term. My first term flew by, but with your support and input, and some very heavy lifting by my staff, we can claim major accomplishments in terms of legislation, infrastructure enhancements, increased code enforcement and quality of life improvements.

I don't take your partnership for granted, and with your continued support and collaboration, plus the assistance of my talented staff, I expect the next four years to be even more productive. Look for a special report highlighting my first term accomplishments and second term goals in the next few weeks. If you have suggestions of your own -- great initiatives you've seen working elsewhere or something you think would improve Prince George's County -- please share them with me.

In 2015, I will chair the Council's Transportation, Housing and Environment Committee, a panel I have not served on since 2012 when I last served as chair. A number of issues vital to the environmental and economic health of the county fall under this committee. Each of the five voting members of the committee will have his or her own areas of interest; my focus will begin with transit, including gaps in bus and rail service and system inefficiencies. I hear it over and over again from residents, "Heaven help you if you're without a car and trying to get around Prince George's County. " To maximize citizen input, the committee is tentatively planning three hearings throughout the County on transit and transportation issues, including roads, sidewalks, bike lanes and trails.

Finally, you've probably heard or read in the media about a county budget deficit. We are indeed facing a $40 million shortfall for the second half of FY 2015 and considering deep cost cutting measures.

I value your input on spending priorities and urge you to attend the County Executive's Budget Listening Session, Thursday, Feb. 12, at 7 PM, Laurel High School, 8000 Cherry Lane. See below for more details. I look forward to hearing your thoughts. If you can't make the listening session, you can always share your thoughts by calling or emailing my office.

Yours in Service,
Mary Lehman
County Council District 1

Upcoming Events 
Legislative Budget Listening SessionsCounty Executive Rushern L. Baker, III, invites citizens and businesses to attend the Annual County Budget Listening Sessions. Participants will have an opportunity to share their comments about the County's FY 2016 proposed budget. Your feedback could make a difference and impact how the County Executive and his staff develop the next County budget. Participants who wish to speak can sign up on-site, pre-register online or call 301-952-4547. 
Tuesday, February 3, 7 PM
Prince George's Community College
Rennie Forum, 301 Largo Road, Upper Marlboro, MD

Thursday, February 12, 7 PM
Laurel High School
Spartan Hall, 8000 Cherry Lane, Laurel, MD

WSSC Budget Public Hearings

The formal budget document is available on WSSC's website athttps://www.wsscwater.com/about-us/financial-information.html
Montgomery County                                        Prince George'sCountyFebruary 4, 7:30PM                                    February 5, 7:30PM
The Stella B. Werner Office Building                     RMS Building - Room 308
100 Maryland Avenue, 7th Floor                            1400 McCormick Drive
Rockville, MD                                                             Largo, MD
In case of inclement weather on either date, the public hearing will be held at 7:30 p.m. on February 11, 2015, in the Commission Auditorium at WSSC's headquarters: 14501 Sweitzer Lane, Laurel, MD 20707. Written comments can be submitted electronically to BudgetGroup@wsscwater.com, or mailed to Acting Budget Group Leader, WSSC, 14501 Sweitzer Lane, Laurel, MD, 20707 until February 17, 2015.

PGCPS Budget Process
The budget review  process for the school system has begun. Community budget forums and public hearings will be held from January to February prior to the Board of Education's adoption of the school budget request to the County Executive. The County Executive will then transmit a proposed budget to the County Council no later than March 15. The Council will then hold committee hearings to review the budget with agency representatives during  April and May, make adjustments, and approve the budget by June 1. The Board then must reconcile their proposed budget with the final monetary allocations from the county and state to the school system. More on the school budget forums. 
Tuesday, February 10, 7 PM
Sasscer Administration Building, Board Room
14201 School Lane
Upper Marlboro, MD

M-NCPPC Zoning Rewrite Listening Session
Tuesday, February 10 6-8 PM
Parks and Recreation Auditorium, 6600 Kenilworth Avenue, Riverdale Park
After approximately ten months of outreach and research, the M-NCPPC consultant team released the Evaluation and Recommendations Report for the Zoning Ordinance and Subdivision Regulations Rewrite. This document reflects the consultant's conclusions for how the Zoning Ordinance and Subdivision Regulations should be restructured. Attend one of the three countywide listening sessions in January 2015 and share your thoughts and ideas on what the Prince George's County's 21st Century Zoning Ordinance and Subdivision Regulations should emphasize. Read the Evaluation and Recommendations Report here. 

News You Can Use
New County Housing Program Offers Up to $20,000 in Downpayment Assistance
Are you looking to buy a home in Prince George's County? See if you qualify for the Maryland Mortgage Program (MMP) Triple Play Initiative. Through the initiative, all eligible Maryland Mortgage borrowers in the county receive a .25 percent discount on their mortgage interest rate, $10,000 in down payment assistance through an interest-free, deferred loan, and the state will waive its fee on the $2,000 Maryland HomeCredit. Borrowers purchasing in one of 14 county zip codes can receive an additional $10,000 grant. For more information, click here.

Enroll in Affordable Health Insurance
Under the Affordable Care Act, most people over the age of 18 must have health insurance or pay a fine. The Prince George's County Health Department and Department of Social Services are leading the effort to ensure that all residents are informed concerning the enrollment process, including the requirements and locations how to sign up. The enrollment period for this upcoming year is November 15, 2014 - February 15, 2015. Coverage will begin on January 1, 2015. For information on how to shop, compare, and enroll in coverage, click here.

Energy Assistance Available
The nonprofit Mary's Center of Adelphi is offering grants of up to $500 in energy assistance for families in Prince George's County with income at or below the poverty level. To apply, contact Mary's Center at 202-545-2024 or e-mail energyassistance@maryscenter.org.

In Case of Snow 
Keeping you and our neighborhoods safe is a top priority. Click here for a PDF with cold weather tips and energy assistance info. 

Prince George's Public Schools
For information regarding school closings due to inclement weather, parents can call the PGCPS Weather Line after 6 am at 301-952-6000. After listening to the opening message, press number 1. Parents can also find out by watching PGCPS TV on Comcast channel 96 or Verizon FIOS channel 38. If you have access to the internet, visit www1.pgcps.org for updates, or sign up for emergency text message and e-mail alerts. For text and email PGCPS alerts, sign up here.  

For the status of inclement weather closings of senior centers and other Park and Planning facilities, visit www.pgparks.com. Updates on the status of M-NCPPC athletic fields and sports facilities in Prince George's County are available by calling Department of Parks and Recreation sports weather line at 301-927-0822. M-NCPPC will not operate when Prince George's County government is closed.

Prince George's County
To find out if Prince George's County government is closed during inclement weather, contact 301-952-4810 for a voice recording on the status of the county's schedule. When Prince George's County Public Schools are closed due to adverse weather conditions, M-NCPPC community centers remain open; however, kids' care (school-aged child care and pre-school programs) will be closed.

Snow Removal Reminders
Please keep this information on hand in the event of inclement weather. The Department of Public Works & Transportation is responsible for plowing and, salting roads, and removing downed trees or branches in the public right of  
way. To help with snow removal and prevent crime:
  • Move and keep vehicles off snow emergency routes
  • Park in driveways or other off-road locations wherever possible
  • Park only on the EVEN NUMBERED sides of roads/streets
Don't forget: homeowners or renters and businesses are responsible for removing snow and ice from sidewalks. Please keep them safe and passable.Residents are also requested to shovel their driveways after plowing has occurred and to remove snow and ice from the sidewalks abutting their homes and businesses.  

Residents are encouraged to wait 12 hours after the precipitation has stopped and call County Click at 311, the Snow Information Center at 301-350-0500 or go to the County's website at www.princegeorgescountymd.gov to report adverse road conditions via the Snow Request Form.

Power Outages 
In the event of a power outage, BGE customers should call 1-877-778-2222 every 4 hours or so to receive the latest available information regarding service restoration. Storm and outage map 

Pepco customers should call PEPCO at 1-877-737-2662 regularly for updates regarding service restoration. Work crew and outage map 
Sign Up for Notify Me Prince George's
Please click here to sign up for the county's notification service.  

Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway 2014 with family & staff.

Senior Resource Fair 2014

Housing Assistance
Warm Nights Hypothermia ProgramCommunity Crisis Services, Inc. operates the Prince George's County Hypothermia Program, Warm Nights. Warm Nights operates during the winter months (mid-November to March) to provide overnight shelter to individuals needing to escape the cold temperatures. Individuals stay at area churches and are provided meals. Transportation services are provided from various pickup points throughout the county. There are no prerequisites for Warm Nights. Call 1-888-731-0999 for placement into the Hypothermia Program.

Shelter PlacementCommunity Crisis Services, Inc. coordinates all shelter placements to Prince George's County shelters. Shelter placements are available to men, women and children. Individuals seeking shelter should call 1-888-731-0999 to apply for shelter. To qualify for shelter, the following criteria must be met:
*Be at least 18 years of age or with a parent/guardian at least 18 years of age;
*Be homeless or within seven (7) days of becoming homeless;
*Have valid identification demonstrating residency in Prince George's County prior to becoming homeless;
*Not resided in a Prince George's County shelter within the past year (Hypothermia program is not included); and
*Not seeking shelter due to Domestic Violence. - If seeking shelter for Domestic Violence, please call the Family Crisis Center at 301-731-1203.

Shelter Diversion  The Shelter Diversion program serves Prince George's County residents who are in danger of becoming homeless. The full-time case manager provides callers with one-on-one counseling and case management. If placement to the shelter becomes necessary, the case manager can help facilitate the process. Shelter Diversion services include traveler's aid, emergency motel placements, case management, and assistance with entitlements, crisis planning and counseling. Call 1-888-731-0999 to see if the Shelter Diversion program can help.

Contact My Staff
Bridget Warren 
Chief of Staff  

Matt Dernoga 
Policy Analyst  

Dora Myles-Moore 
Constituent Services Aide  

Jasmin Holmes
Administrative Aide  

At Food & Friends with Congresswoman Donna Edwards.