Budget chief urges delay of some projects

February 01, 1994|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Sun Staff Writer

Carroll Budget Director Steven D. Powell said yesterday the county can afford to spend $57.3 million on capital projects in the next fiscal year -- about $9 million less than the Planning Commission recommended.

Two landfill projects, an expansion at a senior center, a new tourism office and corporate hangars at the airport should not be paid for in fiscal 1995, which begins July 1, Mr. Powell said.

But road improvements, ball fields at North Carroll Middle School and a Piney Run water treatment plant should be, he said.

Mr. Powell and Gary L. Horst, capital budget supervisor, briefed the three commissioners for an hour on the capital budget.

The commissioners said they would study the proposal before commenting. They must approve a budget in late May.

But the budget proposal may have to be reworked if the state Board of Public Works does not pay $6 million toward a new middle school in the Sykesville area. If the state does not contribute toward the $11 million Oklahoma Road school, the commissioners will have to find a way to pay for it. The school is needed to ease crowding at Sykesville Middle.

County officials have asked the board for the money, but they don't expect an answer until spring.

Last month, the Planning Commission recommended that the county spend $66.6 million on capital projects. The current year's capital budget is $32.6 million.

Mr. Powell and his staff trimmed the Planning Commission's proposal. The largest recommended cut -- $5.7 million -- was to public works projects.

They recommended that a $1.5 million ground water remediation project at Hodges Landfill and the closing of a cell at Hoods Mill Landfill at a cost of $3.7 million be postponed until fiscal 1996.

The second-largest cut -- $3.5 million -- was in general government. The analysts recommended that corporate hangars at the Carroll County Airport, estimated to cost $1.9 million, be built between fiscal 1996 and 1999.

They recommended two postponements until fiscal 1996: $320,000 to expand the Taneytown Senior Center and $400,000 to move the county law library from the courthouse to the annex.

The analysts also said the county cannot afford to spend $314,300 to buy the Shriver Building at 130 Railroad Ave. in Westminster for a tourism center and economic development office.

They added $127,000 to build a multipurpose ball field behind North Carroll Middle and added $255,000 to buy more portable classrooms for various county schools.

They said the Piney Run water treatment plant, transmission system and monitoring -- at a total cost of $14.8 million -- should be built next year. The plant had been scheduled to be built in fiscal 1996, but utility officials said the drinking water is needed as soon as possible.

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