Leaders of some 30 civic associations, PTAs and programs for the needy came to the Arundel Center North Wednesday night to plead for slices of a pie that's only big enough to serve about half of them.
Some of the groups applying for the county's annual $2 million federal allotment for Community Based Block Grants have come to the table with bigger appetites than others, and the county will be serving about 20 percent of the pie to itself to pay for planning and administration of the money.
Approximately $1.7 million will be available to divvy up among the $3.3 million in requests.
Wednesday's public hearing, conducted by the county office of community development, marked the beginning of the evaluation process for the different programs the department has been asked to consider.
"In some cases what people say at the public hearings can really help us key into aspects of the program that may not be included in their written proposals," said project planner Elizabeth Harber. "We do follow up on each request."
The county must follow strict federal guidelines designed to ensure that the bulk of the grants benefit low- and moderate-income, or otherwise disadvantaged, communities. Historically, between 90 and 95 percent of the grants have gone to low- and moderate-income communities, county planner Kathleen Koch said.
Only 15 percent of the grants can go toward operating expenses for programs.
Among the biggest projects looking for money:
* The county Housing Authority, with six different requests totaling $873,000. Among other projects, the Housing Authority would like to replace 17-year-old appliances at the Burwood Gardens Senior apartments; replace a brick outdoor mail box in Freetown Village; repair the roof at the Meade Village community center; and correct a drainage problem that has caused the health department to order abandonment at the Stoney Hill developmentally disabled and senior's residential home.
* The all-volunteer Woods Adult Day Care Center has asked for $600,000 to pay for the partial construction of an 80-unit senior citizen day-care center in Millersville.
* The Taxpayer's Improvement Association of Patapsco Park is asking for $350,000 to renovate the Lloyd Keaser Community Center in Pumphrey.
* The Providence Center, which trains and finds employment for the developmentally disabled, asked for $228,000, in part to conduct a feasibility study for an adult day care center.
* The Lombardee Beach Community Association is asking for $230,000 to rehabilitate the old Lombardee Beach Firehouse.
* The YWCA wants $163,000 to expand the teen-infant toddler care center at Annapolis High that allows teen parents to graduate.
The requests will be ground through the budget process over the next five months. The winners will not be notified until the County Council passes its budget at the end of May.