State financing for the design of a controversial $80 million countyjail in Glen Burnie goes before the full Senate tonight, after winning approval of a budget panel last week.
On a 7-3 vote, the SenateBudget and Taxation Committee approved a $1.25 million bond bill forthe design of a 650-bed detention center on New Ordnance Road. County Executive Robert R. Neall says the county needs the new jail to alleviate overcrowding at the county's 25-year-old Jennifer Road facility near Annapolis.
Before forwarding the bill, the Senate panel amended it, requiring Neall and the County Council to agree on a location before the state will release the design money. The council rejected the Glen Burniesite earlier this month.
Sen. Philip C. Jimeno, a Brooklyn Park Democrat, said he will oppose the bond bill on the Senate floor.
"Ibelieve there is a need but the cost is too high and there are too many unanswered questions," said Jimeno, whose Glen Burnie constituents have virulently opposed the proposed jail.
Jimeno said he believes he may find support among other lawmakers who have looked askance at the $80 million cost and the division between Neall, the council and Anne Arundel's five senators. The Senate delegation has not endorsed the bill, spliting, 2-2, on the issue with one abstention.
Jimeno and Sen. Gerald Winegrad, an Annapolis Democrat, voted against thebill. Senate Minority Leader Jack Cade, a Severna Park Republican, and Sen. Michael Wagner, a Democrat from Glen Burnie, approved it. Sen. Bernie Fowler, a Democrat representing South County, abstained.
Cade, a Neall ally and member of the Budget and Tax Committee, pushedthe bill through the budget panel Friday afternoon despite the divisions.
The county's 13-member House delegation is waiting on the Senate before voting on the bill.