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Governor's budget earmarks funds for flood land

January 28, 1998

Governor's budget earmarks funds for flood land

By GUY FLETCHER

Staff Writer

ANNAPOLIS - Some homeowners in Williamsport and Funkstown could get some relief as part of a government plan to purchase land susceptible to flooding.

Gov. Parris N. Glendening on Tuesday announced a plan to provide $8.3 million from the state's capital budget for flood-control efforts in Western Maryland. Included in that amount is $109,000 for residential property acquisition in Williamsport and $77,000 for Funkstown.

Combined with federal funds and a matching amount of state dollars from local governments, the acquisition money could be as high as $872,000 for Williamsport and $616,000 for Funkstown.

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"It sounds good," said Funkstown Mayor Robert L. Kline.

Kline said several trailer homes and other properties near the Antietam Creek frequently flood when the water rises. Being susceptible to flooding probably makes them difficult to sell by traditional methods, he said.

Williamsport Mayor John W. Slayman said some properties in his town near the Conococheague Creek seem to flood often and could be helped by the acquisition program.

"It would be a great assistance to those people," Slayman said.

Under the program, which would start after the new budget year begins on July 1, the properties would be purchased at fair market value. Money could be used only for acquisition and no funds would be available for relocation expenses, according to Glendening.

The program is voluntary, meaning no one will be evicted or face condemnation of property, he said.

Glendening's flood-control plan, which also includes restoration and reconstruction spending, is the result of recommendations made by a task force that studied the issue after two floods hit Western Maryland in 1996.

Most of the spending would take place in Garrett and Allegany counties and combine with $5.3 million in federal funding.

"These improvements are vital to protect life and property in Western Maryland from the ravages of flooding," said House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr., D-Allegany.

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