The Montgomery County Council is the legislative branch of County Government. It has nine members, all elected at the same time by the voters of Montgomery County for four-year terms. The terms of the present Council, elected November 2014, began at noon on December 1, 2014 and will continue until noon on the first Monday in December 2018.
Five members of the Council are elected by the voters of their respective council districts. Four members are elected at-large by all the voters of the County. The Council officers are elected by the Council from among its members in December for a one-year term. Officers for 2016-2017 are:
- President: Roger Berliner
- Vice-President: Hans Riemer
Beginning on Dec. 5, 2016, the Council president receives a salary of $141,371 per year. The other members receive a salary of $128,519.
The Council's Responsibilities
The County Council's responsibilities are specified by the County Charter and state law. Some of the Council's principal responsibilities are:
- Appropriates money to fund the capital and operating budgets and sets the local property tax rate and other local taxes.
- Approves all land use plans including the General Plan, area master plans, and sector plans prepared by the Planning Board.
- Acts on zoning changes.
- Exercises oversight over County programs to ensure efficiency and effectiveness.
- Approves the six-year capital improvements, public services, and fiscal policy programs.
- Approves the county Ten Year Solid Waste and Water Supply and Sewerage System Plans.
- Serves as the Board of Health for Montgomery County.
- Enacts all County laws and amendments to the Code.
- The Council sets the tax rates required to fund the County budgets.
- The Council confirms major appointments made by the County Executive and appoints the members of the Montgomery County Planning Board and the Board of Appeals.
- Acts on or initiates reorganization plans for the County government's executive branch.
- Directs and reviews the annual independent audit of County government operations.
When the Council Meets
The Council generally meets on Tuesdays beginning at 9:30 a.m. The Council meets other days in committees and frequently holds public hearings and forums in the evenings. Nearly all Council meetings are open to the public.
The Council conducts business in the following manner:
- An item of business is introduced at a regular Tuesday session. The public is notified through the advance agenda and Council report and the Council's website.
- The Council schedules a public hearing if required by law, which is advertised in Montgomery County newspapers as well as in the agenda. Special measures may be advertised by press release.
- After the public hearing, the Council holds committee and full Council worksessions. For worksessions, the staff prepares a packet of material for the Council's consideration that summarizes issues raised.
- Worksessions are open to the public and are publicized through the agenda mailing. After the worksessions, the item is brought before the Council for final action, usually at a regular Tuesday session.
There are six Council standing committees. Each Committee has budget review and program oversight responsibilities. Some cross-cutting issues may be reviewed by two committees meeting jointly.