The General Assembly voted yesterday to give Annapolis $250,000 as seed money to plan renovations to the City Dock, about a third of what the city requested.
The state's $390 million capital budget also included $2.4 million for a new jail in Anne Arundel County, the Glen Burnie Town Center and the Odenton Health Center.
Annapolis officials want to complete a $10 million make-over of the city's waterfront before the boats competing in the Whitbread Round the World Race arrive in April 1998. City officials are hoping that the state will kick in half of the eventual cost of the project, which includes widening sidewalks, replacing bulkheads and pilings, landscaping, burying utility lines and building a wraparound walkway by the water's edge.
The House Appropriations Committee rejected the city's original request of $750,000 for City Dock, but the Senate's Budget and Taxation Committee agreed to provide $500,000. The joint conference committee cut that amount in half.
"We're surprised and pleased that in these difficult times, they were able to get a quarter of a million dollars," said Michael D. Mallinoff, Annapolis city administrator. "It just shows they're very supportive of the capital city."
Mr. Mallinoff said the state bond money requires a match from the city. "The city already has about $175,000 in this year's budget, so we'd have to raise another $75,000 to match it," he said.
Carl O. Snowden, chairman of the City Council's Finance Committee, said the project ultimately might not be as ambitious as originally envisioned.
"The city will probably scale back the City Dock renovation in proportion to the money it gets from the state," said Mr. Snowden, a Ward 5 Democrat. "It really does need state money to go forward."
Alderman Louise Hammond, a Ward 1 Democrat, said there were too few details on the City Dock renovation plan to know whether the state's $250,000 contribution was too much or not enough. "There was nothing in the capital budget to give me any indication on how this money is going to be spent," she said.
She said the city's Planning and Zoning Commission should draft a plan outlining plans for City Dock before any of the state money is spent.
"None of this should be done until a committee through Planning and Zoning gets together and talks about the design and what it is we want to see downtown," Ms. Hammond said.
Other projects approved in the state's capital budget include $1 million for the Glen Burnie Town Center renewal project, which was County Executive John G. Gary's top priority. The money nTC will be used to begin development of the Superblock, a vacant property at Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard and Ritchie Highway, with housing, offices, stores and restaurants.
The funding request was deleted in the House, but Sen. John A. Cade, a Severna Park Republican, restored the money on the Senate side, and it was approved in the conference committee.
The General Assembly approved $100,000 for the Odenton Health Center. A $275,000 request for renovations to London Town Publik House was denied in the conference committee after word came down that Mr. Gary would not include matching funds from the county in its 1996 fiscal year budget.
Last week, after learning that a bill that would have relieved the county of any responsibility for Annapolis' claim for $9.2 million in back tobacco tax revenues had died, Mr. Gary said he would not finance the project.
County officials said they needed the money to pay for the potential liability if they lost a lawsuit Annapolis has filed seeking the back tax revenues. Some believe the county is withdrawing the London Town money to punish Del. Virginia P. Clagett, a West River Democrat, in whose district the historic inn is situated.
Ms. Clagett, who also represents Annapolis, led the fight to defeat the bill that would have absolved the county of responsibility for the tax liability.
The capital budget also included $1.3 million in bond money for the proposed jail in Glen Burnie, funds that were recycled from completed jail projects in Cecil and Queen Anne's counties.