Delegates seek funds for new school

February 24, 1994|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Sun Staff Writer

ANNAPOLIS -- Carroll delegates assured the county budget director yesterday that they are working to secure state money for a new middle school in South Carroll.

"We're trying as hard as we can," said Del. Donald B. Elliott, a Republican who represents Carroll and Howard counties.

"I think we have a good case. I'm cautiously optimistic we're going to get the funds," said Del. Richard N. Dixon, a Carroll Democrat.

If they fail, the county commissioners will have to cut $6 million from other programs, Budget Director Steven D. Powell said.

County officials have asked the state Board of Public Works for $6 million toward the cost of building Oklahoma Road Middle School. The county would contribute $5 million, of which $3.5 million would be in general-obligation bonds.

Mr. Dixon, who spoke with Gov. William Donald Schaefer about the project last month, said he does not expect an answer until April.

"We don't get down to the final budget until the last few days of the session," he said.

Four of the six members of the Carroll delegation met with Mr. Powell and Gary L. Horst, the capital budget supervisor, for about 40 minutes yesterday at the Lowe House Office Building.

Mr. Powell presented the county's preliminary capital budget plan for fiscal 1995 and explained why the county needs to sell $18.5 million in general-obligation bonds to pay for projects.

The delegation already has submitted House Bill 543, which would allow the Carroll commissioners to borrow the $18.5 million. The House Appropriations Committee has scheduled a hearing on the bill for 11 a.m. March 9.

The commissioners propose to spend the bond money on a number of projects, including:

* $2.7 million for a new library at Carroll Community College.

* $3.9 million for road repairs.

* $10.8 million for school projects, including $3 million for additions to Taneytown Elementary, almost $800,000 for equipment for New Windsor Middle and $2 million to buy land for schools.

County officials expect to complete land purchases for two school sites July 1, Mr. Powell said. He would not give details about the sites or prices.

He and Mr. Horst talked to Carroll legislators about the two sites yesterday in a brief closed meeting.

The total preliminary Carroll capital budget for fiscal 1995, which begins July 1, is $57.2 million. The commissioners will vote on a final budget in late May.

The current year's capital budget is $32.6 million.

A major factor in the budget increase is a recommendation to build the Piney Run water treatment plant, transmission system and monitoring -- at a total cost of $14.8 million -- next year. Construction of the plant had been scheduled for fiscal 1996, but utility officials say the drinking water it would provide is needed as soon as possible.

County officials say an expected rise in revenue from income taxes and property taxes would help cover the growing budget.

The Carroll delegation also has submitted a bill that would allow the commissioners to sell $10.9 million in bonds for Carroll County General Hospital projects.

The hospital needs the money to enlarge its emergency room and build an outpatient surgery area, Mr. Powell said.

The hospital would repay the money in various ways, including cash and a land swap, which is under negotiation, Mr. Powell said.

The House Appropriations Committee has scheduled a hearing on the hospital bill for 11 a.m. March 9.

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