City Scene

Gaithersburg Is ‘Great Small Town for Book Lovers’

In recognition of its nationally acclaimed Gaithersburg Book Festival, the City of Gaithersburg recently earned a spot as one of the “30 Great Small Towns for Book Lovers.” The list, assembled by, recognizes towns that have strong connections to literature, either through individual books and authors or with programs that encourage reading and a love of books.

The website recognized Gaithersburg for having one of the top literary events in the country, noting, “The Gaithersburg Book Festival attracts hundreds of award-winning and best-selling authors, poets, and songwriters from across the country.”

“This is great validation for what we’ve built over the past seven years,” said Gaithersburg Mayor and Book Festival founder Jud Ashman. “Residents of the D.C. metropolitan area are among the most well-read in the country. National recognition as a Great Small Town for Book Lovers just reinforces what we already know—that Gaithersburg is a rising star on the literary map.”

Novavax Plans to Expand Operations, Add Jobs

Novavax, a clinical stage vaccine company that works to deliver novel products to prevent a broad range of infectious diseases, has announced plans to expand its presence in Montgomery County. The company, which has its headquarters in Gaithersburg, is planning to build out its research, development and clinical trial support operations. As part of the expansion, Novavax plans to retain its current 400 full-time employees and add up to 850 new jobs to accommodate its growing pipeline of vaccine candidates.

Novavax has initiated more than 20 clinical trials targeting infectious diseases, including respiratory syncytial virus, seasonal influenza, pandemic influenza and Ebola virus. In May 2016, Novavax signed a lease for approximately 150,000 square feet of facility space located at 1201 Clopper Road in Gaithersburg. The new space will support laboratory and manufacturing activities.

“We thank Novavax for choosing to stay and grow in Gaithersburg,” said Mayor Jud Ashman. “Our city has unique attributes that support emerging biotechnology. Chief among those traits is our talented workforce, represented by the many current employees of Novavax. We extend a warm welcome to the hundreds of people who will fill the company’s new jobs here.”

CHARACTER COUNTS! Celebrates 20 Years

At Celebrate! Gaithersburg on June 12, area organizations and businesses organized activities that celebrated the six pillars of the city’s CHARACTER COUNTS! program—trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship. The program was adopted by the city in 1996; over the years, character education has become part of many of the city’s programs and events, exposing thousands of young people to these ethical concepts, and encouraging adults to model the behavior. The 20th anniversary celebration kicked off on May 23 with the dedication of a sculpture of former Mayor Ed Bohrer, who was instrumental in bringing the program to Gaithersburg.

FedEx Ground Package Distribution Center Approved

At its regular meeting on June 1, the Planning Commission approved the Final final site plan for a FedEx Ground Package Distribution Center at the former IBM site at 800 N. Frederick Ave.  The Planning Commission also approved a comprehensive sign package for the Wye Site and made a recommendation of approval to the Mayor and Council for the rezoning of 700 Quince Orchard Road to MXD.

FY17 $66.2 Million Budget Adopted

On June 6 the Gaithersburg Mayor and City Council adopted a fiscal year 2017 (FY17) budget of $66.2 million. It takes effect on July 1, and will be available for viewing on the city’s website by that date. The ad valorem property tax rate remains unchanged at $0.262 per $100 of assessed value.

Along with the budget, the Mayor and City Council also adopted the City’s Strategic Plan for FY17 and a comprehensive fee schedule for the City of Gaithersburg. This schedule includes a listing of all fees, charges, fines and forfeitures as provided in the ordinances of the City of Gaithersburg. Both documents will also be available for online review as of July 1.

Key elements of the FY17 budget include an operating budget of just over $49 million that addresses the service needs of a growing community; contributions to the city’s Other Post Employment Benefits Trust of $1.6 million, ensuring that retiree benefits are appropriately funded; a $13.1 million Capital Improvement Plan that moves several projects forward, including a new Public Safety facility; transfers to the Asset Replacement Fund of $1.3 million; and transfers of $1 million to the Stormwater Fund, allowing the city to fund projects that protect local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay in compliance with state and federal mandates.