Assembly acts on county bond requests

April 04, 1997


Staff Writer

ANNAPOLIS - The town of Hancock could receive $75,000 in state funding for work on its community center, but Community Rescue Service will not get the $250,000 it wanted to help pay for a new headquarters.

That was the result of actions taken this week by two Maryland General Assembly committees that pared back and approved some of Washington County's bond-funding requests. The fate of one request remains to be decided.

Originally, county lawmakers had requested $625,000 in state funding for various local projects. But with only about $20 million to be allocated statewide, officials predicted that some of their proposals would be cut.


"We would have liked more," said Del. Sue Hecht, D-Frederick/Washington, who serves on the House Appropriations Committee.

Both her committee and the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee agreed to fund the full $75,000 sought by Hancock for improvements to the town community center, which houses various nonprofit agencies and programs. The money would be used for renovation and reconstruction costs.

The state funds will be a "soft" match, meaning that local dollars and services must be raised to equal the state contribution.

Both committees also agreed to provide a grant for Memorial Recreation Center to help pay for ongoing renovation of the former school building on North Street. The building is used for a variety of educational and recreational programs for local children.

The Senate has proposed making $225,000 available for the work, while the House has proposed making available $150,000. The center had requested $250,000.

Another difference came in the $50,000 requested by Mentally Impaired or Handicapped Individuals Inc., known as MiHi, to purchase playground equipment that is accessible to the disabled. The Senate committee agreed to the full amount, while the House panel rejected any funding.

The difference between the House of Delegates and Senate versions will have to be worked out by negotiators from both houses, leading some to warn that the funding is not guaranteed.

"This (proposal) may be entirely different than the way it ultimately comes out," said Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington, a member of the Budget and Taxation Committee.

Both committees decided against allocating money for Community Rescue Service, which sought $250,000 for the planning, design and construction of a new headquarters building on Eastern Boulevard.

Lawmakers said funding for such projects is opposed by administration officials who have made it clear they did not want to set a precedent of funding rescue companies.

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