During its work session on transportation budget matters last Friday, the Montgomery County Council Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy & Environment Committee (T&E) voted to take $5 million out of the Silver Spring Parking Lot District (PLD) budget in order to make a loan of $3 million to the Bethesda Parking Lot District and allocate $2 million into the General Fund, purportedly to pay down a County bond obligation for building garages in Silver Spring, but in reality to free up General Fund dollars for "other pressing budget matters." Members of the T&E Committee include Councilmember Roger Berliner (chair, representing Bethesda), Councilmember Tom Hucker (representing Silver Spring), and Councilmember Nancy Floreen (at-large).
Unfortunately, although the money collected in the Silver Spring PLD - from parking fees, fines, and an ad valorem property tax - is, by law, supposed to remain in Silver Spring for the operations of the parking and urban districts, Councilmembers have, over the years, looked for ways to repurpose those dollars to fund programs in other areas or the County. GSSCC has worked in the past to defeat some of these raids, and will urge members of the full Council to reject the T&E Committee recommendation again this year. GSSCC has long argued that Silver Spring still has unmet needs in terms of additional maintenance, repair, and security in our garages and throughout our urban district.