Thursday, February 10, 2011

AMMENDED-Written Statement by Gamunu Wijetunge for the County Executive’s Annual

Good evening Mr. Leggett. My name is Gamunu Wijetunge. I am Vice-Chair of the Mid-County Citizens Advisory Board (MCCAB). I am accompanied tonight by Ms. Ritija Gupta, Chair of the MCCAB’s Budget Committee.
The MCCAB serves to advise the County Executive and County Council on issues impacting the Mid-County area which covers the
Georgia Avenue
corridor from Forest Glen up through Wheaton, Glenmont, Kensingon, Layhill, Aspen Hill and all the way to Olney. The MCCAB serves as Montgomery County's bridge to the 220,000 residents and businesses spread throughout the 99 square miles of the Mid-County area of Montgomery County.

I recognize the difficulties faced by the Montgomery County Government (MCG) in the face of ongoing severe revenue shortfalls. I would like to thank the County Executive for his continued leadership during these difficult times. I do not have any new formal MCCAB positions to present tonight, rather my remarks are intended to highlight past recommendations which I believe are timely. As the County Executive is aware, the Montgomery County Organizational Reform Commission (the Commission) released its final report on January 31, 2011. The deliberations of the Commission have been discussed at several MCCAB meetings. I believe the Commission’s final report will also be closely examined. I testified before the Commission on behalf of the MCCAB at a public meeting on October 20, 2010. I believe it is worth noting that the Commission’s final report touched on two areas previously discussed by the MCCAB: Liquor Control and the Regional Services Centers.

Department of Liquor Control (DLC)
The Commission has recommended that MCG
pursue options for establishing an independent “revenue authority” to be responsible for operation of the Department of Liquor Control, thereby generating more revenue for the General Fund and removing it from the Executive Branch.

Regional Services Centers
The Commission has recommended that MCG
increase use of the Regional Services Centers’ citizen advisory boards and the Office of Community Partnerships, whenever possible, in lieu of creating new citizen boards or committees.

I believe the Commission’s recommendation recognizes the importance of Regional Services Centers and the regional advisory boards.

In closing I would like to extend my personal appreciation to the County Executive and his hard working staff. Thank you again for taking the time to meet and speak with us tonight. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have at this time.

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