Fruitful session Anne Arundel County: Local delegation brought home its share of the bacon.

April 17, 1996

IF A STATE HOUSE delegation's measure of success is the amount of money returned to its jurisdiction, then Anne Arundel's fared well this year. About $214 million in state aid will flow back to the county's coffers to finance projects from schools to improved boating channels.

With the help of legislative veterans such as Republican Sen. John A. Cade, the delegation secured its share of bacon. The county received $12 million for a county detention center in Glen Burnie and a fine arts building at the community college in Arnold. It also obtained bond authority for restoration of three historic buildings -- the London Town House and Gardens in Edgewater and, in Annapolis, the Maryland Hall for the Creative PTC Arts and Wiley H. Bates High School, a former school for blacks.

The General Assembly also approved creation of a county sports authority that will allow public-private partnerships to develop recreational facilities. This entity makes possible such projects as golf courses, ice rinks or indoor soccer arenas that would be out of the question otherwise given the county's fiscal state.

One measure high on County Executive John G. Gary's wish list that fizzled was his attempt to gain authority to appoint school board members. That bill's defeat drew a sigh that could be heard far beyond Anne Arundel because other school boards feared their executives would seek similar power if Mr. Gary got his way.

The county delegation also played a key role in the passage of legislation supporting two NFL football stadiums. Ironically, Anne Arundel had been mentioned as a site for both of those projects over the years -- back in the 1980s when Baltimore considered replacing Memorial Stadium and, more recently, when Jack Kent Cooke shopped for a new home for his Washington Redskins. Residents seemed just as happy to see the stadiums built elsewhere, that is, aside from folks who opposed them anywhere.

The Arundel delegation's veteran and novice legislators showed that they are beginning to work well together. Having an county executive with legislative experience -- Mr. Gary was an assistant minority whip in the House of Delegates before becoming county executive -- helped, too. A high level of expectation has been established.

Pub Date: 4/17/96

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