Issuu on Google+

NEXT STOP: HEAVEN & British rockers bring a love for the road to Fillmore. B-5 The Gazette SILVER SPRING | TAKOMA PARK | BURTONSVILLE DAILY UPDATES ONLINE Wednesday, October 30, 2013 25 cents State: Purple Line plan would save taxpayer dollars Silver Spring Haunted Garden: Public-private partnership cuts costs by 90 percent n BY AGNES BLUM STAFF WRITER GREG DOHLER/THE GAZETTE Jordan Love, 7, of Silver Spring has his picture taken with one of the creatures in the Haunted Garden on Friday evening in Silver Spring. DEAD OR ALIVE? n Halloween display back in court for ruling on whether it must shut down forever BY Basket case ALINE BARROS STAFF WRITER The nearly 2,000 people who squealed, jumped or gasped at the Haunted Garden in Silver Spring this year might be the last group to ever tour the Halloween display if a judge’s decision puts the nail in the display’s coffin. An estimated 700 people visited the garden on Worth Avenue on Friday and 1,000 to 1,500 on Saturday, according to county officials. On Oct. 15, Montgomery County District Court Judge Patricia Mitchell ruled that Silver Spring real estate agent Donna Kerr, the organizer of the Halloween extravaganza, could open her 9215 Worth Ave. backyard for visitors only on Oct. 25 and 26, from 6 to 10 p.m., instead of five days, as Kerr had planned. The ruling came after 19 of Kerr’s neighbors signed a petition asking the county to shut down the display be- Superintendent wants 14 classroom addition projects BY GREG DOHLER/THE GAZETTE Council approves bill to help working families Will increase county supplement for low-income households BY RYAN MARSHALL STAFF WRITER Montgomery County is restoring a tax break for low-income working families. The Montgomery County Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a bill requiring an increase in the county’s Working Families Income Supplement, which provides money to taxpayers working at or near the poverty level. The increase could help people make a car payment they otherwise might have missed, which could have jeopardized their ability to get to work and put their job at risk, said Councilman Hans Riemer (D-At Large) of Silver Spring, who sponsored the bill. Many community groups in the county strongly supported the bill, Riemer said. FALL BACK This Sunday at 2 a.m., set your clocks back one hour for the end of daylight saving time. LINDSAY A. POWERS STAFF WRITER Kierra Norris, 8, came dressed as the main course of a picnic lunch for the costume contest during the Saturday’s annual Monster Bash at the Takoma Park-Silver Spring Co-op in Takoma Park. Around the County Automotive Calendar Celebrations Classified Entertainment Opinion School News Sports Please A-5 B-16 A-2 A-14 B-11 B-5 A-16 A-15 B-1 RECYCLE A county memorandum on the issue reported that representatives of Catholic Charities, the Justice and Advocacy Council of Montgomery County, Progressive Maryland and Maryland Hunger Solutions, among other groups, supported the bill at a July public hearing. Councilwoman Nancy Floreen (D-At Large) of Garrett Park said she’s always voted for a full match by the county, and See COUNCIL, Page A-12 See PURPLE, Page A-11 Starr proposes $1.55B capital improvements program budget n See GARDEN, Page A-12 n Partnering with private companies to build and operate the Purple Line will save taxpayers about 20 percent of the cost of the whole project, a state transportation official told a County Council committee Monday. “They’re going to get the work done with fewer people,” said Henry Kay of future contractors, known as concessionaires. Kay was one of several representatives from the Maryland Transit Authority and the Department of Transportation who spoke at the county Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment committee meeting, detailing the process behind the public/private partnership also known as P3. The $2.2 billion Purple Line is proposed to run 16.2 miles east-west across Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. Construction is slated to begin in 2015 and the state says it will be operational in 2020. The project has generated controversy for the many properties that will be demolished or affected along the way, and the clear-cutting of 3 miles of the Capital Crescent Trail to make room for the tracks. Unlike other public/private ventures, such as Beltway HOT lanes in Virginia, the concessionaire constructing and running the Purple Line would not have any control over fares nor would it make a profit from them. Instead, a 30-year contract would outline exactly what the concessionaire would be paid in exchange for specific services rendered. These payouts are called “availability payments” because they depend on the availability of the services outlined in the contract. Any problems or issues with the Purple Line would be handled by the MTA and not the private company, Kay said. Glenn Orlin, deputy staff director for the County Council, Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Joshua P. Starr said he prioritized adding classroom space in his newly proposed $1.55 billion Capital Improvements Program for fiscal years 2015 to 2020. “We are bursting at the seams,” he said Monday at Highland Elementary School in Silver Spring, which is at maximum capacity. Starr said the school system needs $2.2 billion to cover all of its capital improvement needs for the six-year period. He is proposing a $1.55 billion program, he said, because the county is currently facing “fiscal restraints” and the school system is not getting the funding it deserves from the state. The proposed program is about $184 million higher than the current program, which covers fiscal years 2013 to 2018. Starr said the program ad- dresses the school system’s ongoing, significant enrollment growth with a recommendation for 14 new classroom addition projects. The plan also maintains schedules for other, previously approved capacity projects, including five new schools. Since 2007, he said, the school system has grown by 14,000 students; another 11,000 are expected over the next six years. Even if the program were fully funded, Starr said, 13 school clusters are expected to be over capacity in fiscal 2020. Fifteen school clusters in the system are over capacity this fiscal year. Most of the school system’s growth has occurred in elementary schools, he said. Of the 14 classroom addition projects, 12 are proposed for elementary schools. Starr recommended five addition projects at elementary schools in the Downcounty Consortium, an area that he said has faced the county’s largest See BUDGET, Page A-12 SPECIAL SECTION ALL ABOUT PETS Is fostering a pet right for you?; why some dogs need regular professional grooming; how to know when to take your pet to the emergency vet See Our Ad Inside! INSIDE TODAY 1906646

Silverspringgaz 103013

Related publications