Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2007

Pilot neighborhoods to get twice-weekly trash pickup

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Rockville residents that have been participating in the pilot program testing weekly curbside refuse collection should expect a return to twice-weekly pickup in October.

The change, along with a shift to single-stream recycling collection, represents the first implementation of the City Council’s revised refuse and recycling policy approved this summer.

Single-stream recycling means residents will no longer have to separate paper and cardboard from plastic, glass and metal containers. Instead, the recyclables will go into one cart — the brown one distributed in the pilot area.

The shift will not yet include a move restricting the number of bulk and metal curbside collections to six times a year, as is called for in the approved plan, Craig Simoneau, director of public works, said.

Since March 2006, the pilot program tested new semi-automated curbside refuse collection at more than 700 homes in the Hungerford neighborhood and on Monument Street.

The program was scheduled to end in January, but continued operating as the council debated weekly- and twice-weekly garbage collection.

Funding for the twice-weekly collection was approved Aug. 6, enabling city staff to begin planning a citywide transition away from the current twice-weekly manual system that includes side yard and back yard collection.

The phased transition was originally expected to occur between April 2008 and June 2009, but the dates were scratched after the council stalled on a funding vote for a month. No new timeline has been set.

Speed cameras to appearnear high schools

In an attempt to slow vehicles down, city police are installing speed cameras on roadways next to Rockville and Thomas S. Wootton high schools.

Tests show motorists are speeding on Baltimore Road in front of Rockville High and Wootton Parkway next to Wootton High, Rockville City Police Chief Terrence N. Treschuk said.

The cameras will be the first fixed positions installed in the city since a mobile camera unit began operating within city limits in May. The city now has two mobile units covering 12 sites and plans to install additional fixed cameras on Redland Boulevard and West Montgomery Avenue, Treschuk said.

It is too early to tell how the new program is progressing, but residents say the cameras are slowing motorists down, the chief added.

The city plans to have the Baltimore Road cameras clicking in each direction by the end of the week. The Wootton Parkway shutters are expected to be operational by next week.

The owners of vehicles photographed traveling more than 10 miles per hour over the speed limit will be ticketed $40 via mail. No points will be assessed.

Assessing fault forTown Square pavers

The city continues to work on a report expected to fix responsibility for the $1.5 million paver problem that delayed the grand opening of the new Town Square development in downtown Rockville.

City Attorney Paul Glasgow recently told the City Council that he expects to have a report ready in the fall.

Rockville officials maintain the city should not pay for repair of the concrete pavers that buckled on a section Maryland Avenue in early March.

Glasgow and an engineering consultant have been analyzing who is responsible for the resurfacing of sections of Maryland Avenue and Gibbs Street and much of Town Plaza.

City officials have said the responsibility should be carried by the designers, installers or some combination of those groups, depending on the outcome of the investigation.

Originally projected to be released weeks after the trouble was first spotted, the report has taken more time, City Manager Scott Ullery said, because of potential litigation.

In March, the project manager for the civil engineering company, Macris, Hendricks & Glascock, denied responsibility, pointing fingers at the geotechnical engineer. The branch manager for the geotechnical company, ECS Mid-Atlantic of Frederick, said it is too early to know what went wrong.

Whiting-Turner Construction, the company responsible for laying the pavers, refused to comment.

Since then the roads have been repaired. Much of the plaza still needs work, which expected to start when cold weather discourages streetside dining, Arthur D. Chambers, director of community planning, said.

Tax credit forum setfor Saturday

The Twinbrook Citizens Association will hold a workshop on Saturday for residents interested in receiving homeowners’ property tax credits.

Richard Gottfried, the association’s outreach chairman and a CPA, will moderate the forum. Participants can learn how credits are granted and how to file.

Rockville residents have until Sept. 1 to file for the state Homeowners’ Tax Credit Program, which also makes them eligible for the city program. City households with annual gross incomes of up to $70,000 may qualify for a break on their real property tax.

Residents can qualify for relief from at the state, county and city levels. For more information, call 1-800-944-7403.

The meeting is set for 10 a.m. at the Twinbrook Recreational Center, 12920 Twinbrook Parkway.