Listening to the Community
A survey was conducted to obtain feedback from County residents on which priorities were most important to them. Below you can see the responses to the question "What is the most important issue facing Montgomery County?"
Below are synthesized responses that were collected from survey that speak to each of the seven priority areas.
Thriving Youth and Families
- The most frequently cited issues were schools and education. Respondents supported investment in schools to ensure quality education and meet students’ non-academic needs, including access to food and social services. Many responses focused on the importance of culturally competent services and equity among schools and among students within the same school.
- Early childhood education and childcare were likewise priorities for respondents, many of whom suggested the implementation of universal pre-kindergarten. The availability of affordable childcare was recognized as an issue closely tied to equity in that it affects parents’, and by extension, children’s, opportunities for success.
- Many respondents identified recreation as a priority, with suggestions to support parks and green spaces and provide after-school and summer programming.
- Survey responses highlighted the importance of health care and mental health, including culturally competent resources and education for diverse populations.
- A variety of social services were identified as important for youth and families, with a focus on their role in promoting equity.
- The issue of affordable housing was frequently cited as an important factor for thriving youth and families, and some respondents acknowledged the overlap among priority areas.
- Other needs included in multiple responses were career development, community engagement, drug and alcohol prevention, financial literacy, higher education, parenting and violence prevention, and transportation.
A Growing Economy
- The most frequently recommended measure was support for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Multiple respondents suggested business incubators, and there was widespread acknowledgment of the value of small businesses to the county.
- Responses commonly dealt with the importance of attracting and retaining businesses. Suggested methods included alleviating bureaucratic burdens, including streamlining the permitting process and curtailing regulations. Some respondents named technology, health, and biotechnology specifically as desirable industries to foster in the county. Viewpoints on business attraction incentives were mixed, with some supporting and others opposing tax breaks. Suggestions for fostering a business-friendly environment touched on the importance of cooperation within the business community and between business and government, and measures to encourage innovation.
- The importance of promoting equity and diversity among business owners and residents of various socio-economic backgrounds was a focus of multiple responses.
- Responses regarding tax policy included support for impact fees.
- Other topics included in multiple responses were attracting residents, schools’ role in growing the economy, and social responsibility.
A Greener County
- The most frequently discussed topic was how the county can use policy to promote sustainability, including solar energy incentives, requirements for new developments, and enforcement of existing environmental protection regulations.
- Respondents focused on renewable energy and specifically solar power as solutions for reducing emissions. Many cited pollution in various forms as a problem to be addressed.
- Respondents supported accessible, reliable, and enhanced public transit options, including expansion of the Bus Rapid Transit project. Access to transportation and its role in equity was addressed by multiple respondents, with some prioritizing pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly infrastructure.
- Waste management and plastic reduction were cited as important by respondents, many of whom supported community education to promote recycling.
- The county’s environment impact on water and green spaces was important to respondents, some of whom identified storm water management and tree cover as priorities.
- The role of the business community in environmental protection beyond that of individual residents was acknowledged.
- Other needs included in multiple responses were composting and biodiversity.
- Survey responses focused primarily on the importance of promoting public transportation, with most responses referencing buses. Respondents generally focused on improving transit options and expanding geographic regions of coverage. Accessibility of bus and rail options was identified as an opportunity to promote equity.
- The second most frequent topic of responses was roads and accompanying infrastructure. Opinions were split on the merit of expanding major routes like I-270. Many respondents supported enhancing infrastructure dedicated to cyclists and pedestrians.
- Multiple responses expressed interest in promoting telework options and flexible work schedules to mitigate peak rush hour traffic.
- Some respondents supported managing development strategically to integrate residential and commercial areas and decrease commute distances.
- Area-specific recommendations expressed needs in up-county areas and Silver Spring.
- Other topics mentioned by multiple respondents were parking, ride sharing, tolls and fees, and zoning.
A More Affordable and Welcoming County
- The issue featured in the greatest number of responses by far was housing affordability. Some respondents focused on the role of development in the creation of new low- and moderate-income units. Multiple respondents cited taxes, zoning, and land use as factors in the cost of living and housing affordability.
- Respondents supported efforts to promote diversity and foster engagement of communities. Some responses specifically referenced assisting immigrants in connecting to services and their community.
- A recurring topic was equity and ensuring that the county is free from discrimination and offers opportunity to all. Multiple respondents supported the provision of human services to promote equity and inclusion.
- Transportation and integrating new development with public transit were identified as an important factor in housing and accessibility.
- Other issues discussed in multiple responses were the cost of living, employment and pay, libraries, equity in schools, and support for seniors.
- The most frequently discussed topic was the county’s police force, with an emphasis on the importance of community policing. Respondents commented on a need for police support, accountability, and social justice in enforcement.
- Respondents supported engagement and inclusion efforts to increase safety and boost equity, including fostering cohesion among neighbors.
- Multiple responses focused on a need to increase pedestrian safety and create more walkable communities.
- Respondents identified a need for gang prevention and gun control.
- Other topics mentioned by multiple responses included domestic violence, education, mental health, streetlights, and social services.
Effective, Sustainable Government
- The greatest number of responses advocated fiscal responsibility and sustainable government.
- Respondents emphasized the importance of the county’s responsiveness to residents and engagement of citizens in government. Multiple responses advocated increased means of proactively seeking constituent input.
- Improved performance and adherence to best practices was identified as important, and respondents advocated innovation and agility to improve service delivery.
- Respondents raised the issue of equitable access to government for residents of diverse backgrounds and areas of the county. Multiple respondents supported hiring equity and professional development for staff.
- Multiple responses identified the need for decreased bureaucracy and increased coordination, efficiency, and transparency.
What are your ideas for building a more equitable and
inclusive Montgomery County?
The following topics were expressed in response to the equity question and not captured in a priority area above:
- Expand access to English language classes for immigrants; increase resources and services available in residents’ native language
- Prioritize racial equity; combat white supremacy; establish a Department of Equity
- Focus not only on affordable housing but on resolving homelessness
- Encourage volunteerism and community leadership
- Enact voting reforms; open year-round voter registration