Planning Advisory Board OKs 'austere' capital projects budget

April 16, 1993|By Anne Arundel County Bureau

The county's Planning Advisory Board approved a $105 million capital projects budget yesterday that includes fixing three recent problems the county is investigating.

"It's austere," Board Chairman Dallas Evans said of the budget proposal the panel will submit to County Executive Robert R. Neall, who in turn may revise it before turning it over to the County Council next month.

The recommended budget seeks $32.4 million in school construction money, part of it be spent on new elementary schools Solley and Meade Heights. The budget included $880,000 in planning money for a new jail, whose size and location have yet to be determined.

Three items had been added to the budget in the past several weeks. The board approved $2.2 million to replace a dam behind Annapolis Mall that collapsed during a March 4 storm and sent construction runoff and mud into environmentally sensitive Weems Creek.

The county is reviewing its standards and rules for such sediment ponds in the wake of the collapse.

Crofton Middle School, though less than a decade old, has air quality problems bad enough to have made some students dizzy and sick, county budget analyst Gregory Nourse said.

About $500,000 would go to correct the problems of undersized air circulators, poor venting and recirculation of bad air. The county is examining the design and construction of the building and may look to recoup the money.

The board also approved $850,000 to correct problems with the retaining wall leading to the new bridge at Turkey Point in South County. Previous budgets have approved $3.4 million for the bridge. The county is reviewing the design to see if the architect should have discovered the problem.

Of the 20 projects the advisory group reviewed Thursday, only one was turned down: $400,000 to plan a water line to serve homes near the Millersville Landfill. The county is providing bottled water to some people there after their wells were contaminated. Some homeowners claimed the problematic landfill was polluting their wells, but a county report concluded chemicals coming from other people's homes had seeped into the ground water.

Usually, homeowners who want to link up to a water line petition the county; in this case, however, the Department of Utilities made the request. Board members said that without hearing what residents want, the county should not plan to force them to pay for water service.

The county's current $96 million capital budget includes about $56 million to be raised through bond sales. The proposed budget, with $52 million in bonds, relies more heavily on impact fees and money coming from the state and federal governments.

Three last-minute proposals won approval:

* $30,000 to plan three large playing fields on the future site of the Crofton Library. The request came on the heels of last week's visit by Mr. Neall to the Crofton area, where he was told that youngsters are turned away from community sports because of the lack of fields. Business and community groups will do the actual construction work at no cost to the county.

* $100,000 toward the expansion of North Arundel Hospital, with a total of $600,000 to be spread over three years.

* $7,700 to dredge 25,500 yards of sediment from Rockhold Creek.

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