ANNAPOLIS -- The Anne Arundel County Council, under intense pressure from north county residents, voted down Executive Robert R. Neall's plan to build a 650-bed jail in Glen Burnie last night.
Though residents who attended the council meeting here were jubilant, the detention center issue is far from dead.
The project will move forward if Mr. Neall can persuade state lawmakers to allocate $1.25 million in design money for the jail.
A hearing before the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee is scheduled for Thursday. Both the county's 13-member House delegation and five senators are expected to decide this week whether to support the county executive's position.
The council voted 5-2 against Mr. Neall's resolution seeking support for an $80 million detention center on New Ordnance Road, at a former Army depot site now owned by the county.
"I always had faith in the County Council," said Lola Hand, president of the Suburbia Civic Association who has led the fight against the jail.
Mr. Neall said he remained confident that the county will get the design money, but acknowledged it will be more difficult without the council's endorsement.
"This is going to make it a little more complicated, but getting a jail site is always complicated," he said.
Del. John A. Gary, R-Millersville, agreed. "I think we'll get it, but this is going to make it much more difficult. You have to put a jail somewhere. Unless the council can come up with a solution that is better than the county executive's, I suspect the delegation will be in a very bad position."
Opponents' best hope for killing the proposal lies with the Senate delegation, whose chairman, Philip C. Jimeno, D-Brooklyn Park, is against the project.
Under the current proposal, the county and state each would pay half the cost of building the jail, which the county administration says is needed to relieve overcrowding at its existing detention center on Jennifer Road in Annapolis.
Unless the state denies the planning money, the issue will come back to the council when Mr. Neall submits his capital budget in May.
The three County Council members representing northern Anne Arundel were expected to vote against the Neall resolution.
Council Chairman David G. Boschert, D-Crownsville, and Council member Virginia P. Clagett, D-West River, unexpectedly voted against the proposal at last night's meeting.