Arundel, Navy officials dispute Taylor site costs

Nearly $1 million spent maintaining former base

April 09, 2002|By Lynn Anderson | Lynn Anderson,SUN STAFF

Officials from Anne Arundel County and the Navy are at odds over how much the military should pay for nearly $1 million in maintenance work at the former David Taylor Research Center.

The Navy has agreed to pay $15,000, but government officials say the county is seeking substantially more -- leading to another complication in the long-planned and frequently delayed redevelopment of the shuttered base.

"We're working on it," Jerome W. Klasmeier, special projects coordinator for County Executive Janet S. Owens, said yesterday, referring to the roughly $555,000 in overdue payments owed to Harza Engineering Co. for its work last year at the base.

The county has paid $440,000 to the Chicago-based firm.

Klasmeier, with William A. Badger, president and chief executive officer of Anne Arundel Economic Development Corp., said the Navy should pay more than the $15,000 it has offered.

The county might appeal to a higher authority within the Navy, and might seek help from area congressmen.

At the heart of the dispute are two legal documents, one of which expired in December 2000, and a verbal agreement that both sides say has been misinterpreted.

When the Navy closed the site three years ago, the military and the county entered into an agreement in which they would share costs to maintain the site. But when it expired more than a year ago, Navy officials rejected the county's request to extend it, Klasmeier said.

Instead, according to Klasmeier and other county officials, Navy officials said that maintenance costs, and who pays them, would be covered by a master lease, to which the county and the Navy are party.

The Anne Arundel Economic Development Corp., a county agency, contracted with Harza in 1999 to keep the site clean and in working condition until Annapolis Partners LLC, developers of the planned, $250 million project, could take it over.

Navy officials say they will cover their share of maintenance costs.

According to a written statement released to The Sun yesterday by Elaine McNeil, a public affairs officer for the Naval Facilities Engineering Command in Washington, "In February of this year the county asked the Navy to review the costs incurred since December 2000. Navy's review of county expenses identified approximately $15,000 in maintenance costs."

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