TANEYTOWN — A plan to open a branch of the Carroll County Health Department hereis scheduled to be resubmitted to the county planning commission next month when that panel begins mulling capital improvement projects for fiscal 1993.
"Although the project is a priority of the Health Department, the fight for available dollars is fierce," said Thomas Rio, chief of the county Bureau of Building Construction. "It all depends on the availability of dollars for fiscal 1993."
The county, like the state, is wrestling with budget constraints.Budget deficits prompted the county to remove the project from the fiscal 1992 capital improvement program. The commissioners have had tocut requests for projects from many county agencies.
Larry Leitch, a county deputy health officer, will go before the planning commission in October to justify the Taneytown project. The price tag for the construction, site development and furnishing of the branch office is $451,000.
"The Taneytown project is well on its way," Leitch said. "But the planning commission could knock it out. The county is only going to approve capital projects if they are absolutely necessaryand beneficial to citizens. Our job is to convince the staff to continue with Taneytown."
The planning commission generally makes recommendations to the commissioners by the beginning of the new year.
"The project might be bumped back (again)," Rio cautioned.
The Health Department wants to open a Taneytown branch because about 15 percent of its clientele served by the Westminster office comes from northwestern Carroll, Leitch said. He said the branch would allow the department to provide more efficient health care.
"The Health Department needs a branch in Taneytown," Leitch
said. "Westminster is a good little ways from there. The trip can be a transportation issue for some people."
He said the branch office would provide outpatient nursing and outpatient addiction (alcoholism evaluation and treatment) services. The branch would be "a small operation," employing fouror five people for both services, he said.
"We want to be able tobetter serve those people in that part of the county," Leitch said, noting that a branch has been in the works for years. "If we can be in their neighborhood, that serves them better."
The county has asked the Taneytown Zoning Board of Appeals for a special exception to convert the remaining section of the county-operated Senior Citizen Center, 220 Robert Mills Road, into a branch office.
However, countyofficials did not attend a hearing before that board Wednesday. Rio said his office was not informed of the hearing. Anna Motter, chairwoman of the Taneytown Zoning Board of Appeals, deferred action on the special exception until after a to-be-rescheduled hearing.
If the special exception is granted by the Taneytown panel and the county includes the project in its capital improvement program, renovation on the branch office could begin next summer. The office could then be ready for occupancy in fiscal 1993, which begins July 1.
Frederick Ward and Associates, the same Baltimore firm that designed the seniorcenter, is designing the 3,000-square-foot facility, Rio said.