From the Office of Council Member Tom Dernoga April 2020
District 1 Office Update
On March 17, 2020, the County Council passed an emergency resolution (CR-10-2020) concerning County Council operations during the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency. To limit the number of people on-site, several other council members and I participated in the scheduled session by video conferencing. CR-10-2020 stays all public meetings, sessions, and hearings of the Prince George’s County Council sitting as the District Council, Zoning Hearing Examiner, and Board of Appeals for a period of sixty (60) days or until the statewide emergency is lifted. However, your District 1 team will continue to serve our residents remotely. Please call us with your questions or concerns at (301) 952-3887 or email Councildistrict1@co.pg.md.us
As your council member, my number one priority is keeping you informed, especially now, during the current public health emergency involving the coronavirus outbreak. COVID-19 causes respiratory illness and can spread from person to person. This is a rapidly evolving situation, and we are working collaboratively in Prince George’s County to inform and protect our communities. For the latest updates, county residents can visit the County Health Department’s dedicated coronavirus web page: https://tinyurl.com/PGCcoronavirus. If you have any questions or concerns, you can also call the Prince George’s County Health Department coronavirus hotline at (301) 883-6627 to receive updated information.
Maryland Health Connection
Due to the ongoing public health emergency caused by COVID-19, a special open enrollment period is now available for uninsured Marylanders. Through April 15, uninsured Marylanders can sign up for health insurance through the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange. Coverage will begin April 1 regardless of when a health plan is selected during the open enrollment period. Visit http://bit.ly/MDHealthConn-Covid-19 to learn more about how you can enroll in coverage and what you need to apply.
Public Services Affected:
Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) is offering “grab and go” lunches for students at regional locations from 11 am to 1 pm daily during the closure. The sites include Martin Luther King, Jr., MS and Buck Lodge MS.
WSSC Water has suspended all water shut offs to ensure customers have access to safe, clean water.
Comcast is offering its Internet Essentials Program FREE of charge for 60 days to low-income households. Comcast is also increasing internet speeds for all program subscribers. Comcast has also established a webpage with information about Xfinity services and their response to the coronavirus at www.xfinity.com/prepare.
Verizon has announced that for the next 60 days, it will waive late fees that any residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstances related to the coronavirus. In addition, Verizon will not terminate service to any residential or small business customers because of their inability to pay their bills due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus.
Pepco and BG&E have energy assistance programs and are suspending service cut-offs and late fees.
Evictions—On March 12, 2020, the District Court issued an order staying all evictions for 15 days (subject to extension).
County Budget Process
On March 11, 2020, the County Council received County Executive Angela Alsobrooks’ proposed spending plan for Fiscal Year 2021, which begins on July 1, 2020. The $4.5 billion budget proposal includes increases in school spending, public safety, and investments in county services. The council is conducting a careful and deliberative review of the FY 2021 budget proposal; however, the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis will significantly impact the budget process, and we expect to receive a supplemental proposal soon. Budget work sessions and public hearings will likely have limited on-site participation, and the public will be invited to participate remotely. Details are being finalized. For additional information on the council budget process, work sessions and public hearings, please visit the council’s FY2021 budget portal at https://pgccouncil.us/454/Budget-Portal.
Please keep in touch! Email us at email@example.com or call 301.952.3887. Se habla Español. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: @TomDernogaD1
Photo Caption: Councilmember Dernoga connects with attendees of the District 1 Laurel Community Conversation.