Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz is asking state lawmakers to spend $70 million on school construction and renovations throughout the county, saying such projects are his top priority in lean budget times.
The county executive, who addressed the county's state lawmakers in Annapolis Tuesday morning, also wants to consolidate some of the county's school and county government functions, such as information technology, nonclassroom purchasing and benefits administration.
Kamenetz emphasized that he recognizes the state's tight fiscal situation, so Baltimore County will only ask for "what is absolutely necessary."
He also proposed legislation to hire an independent auditor who would work with the school board on oversight of the system's administration.
The $70 million would help fund projects including include the new Dundalk and Sollers Point Technical high schools, renovations and additions at Stoneleigh Elementary, new windows and doors at Pikesville High School, and a new roof at Hereford High School, Kamenetz told legislators.
Some of the money would be used to reimburse the county for what is already has spent on construction projects.
Also included in Kamenetz's wish list were:
•Legislation to allow the county to change the way it issues liquor licenses for restaurants. Kamenetz formed a task force last year to examine the issue, calling the county's current system archaic and saying that reform would spur economic development through the restaurant sector.
•A measure to help the county enforce its two-hour limit on handicapped parking spaces.
•A $150,000 bond request for NeighborSpace, an organization that works to preserve open space for recreation in the county's urban areas.
•A $400,000 funding request for repairs and improvements at Battle Acre Park in Dundalk. The improvements would make the park more accessible to pedestrians and vehicles for the 200th anniversary celebration of the War of 1812, Kamenetz said.
•Resources to relocate and expand the Martin MARC station, and to upgrade Reisterstown Road in Owings Mills.