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Capital improvement plan calls for bonds

January 27, 1999|By SCOTT BUTKI

A draft of Washington County's proposed capital improvement program for fiscal year 2000 calls for using $14.6 million in general obligation bonds, more than double the amount the county issued in bonds during the 1999 fiscal year.

The $30 million program presented to the Washington County Commissioners on Tuesday also calls for spending $2 million from the general fund on the projects.

The program was pared down by a capital improvement program committee made up of Public Works Director Gary Rohrer and Budget and Finance Director Debra Bastian.

Commissioner William J. Wivell said he opposes spending almost $17 million on capital improvement projects. He would prefer to get the county's share of the program down to about $10 million, he said.

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An early draft of the 1999 capital improvement budget was $15.8 million, but it was cut to about $10.3 million before the budget was passed in June.

The commissioners added $2.6 million to the budget in September 1998 when the county had a $4.5 million surplus.

The comissioners spent about $7 million in bonds last year, County Administrator Rodney Shoop said.

The increase from $6.5 million to $14.6 million is necessary because the county must undertake some projects that have been postponed in past years and some that can't be delayed, Shoop said.

The program calls for using $6.55 million in federal funds, $2.47 million in state money and $1.71 million in developer contributions.

Also available is about $22 million in prior allocations from the county.

The commissioners are scheduled to discuss the capital improvement program at a Feb. 2 meeting. The program is approved as part of the county's annual budget.

A big chunk of the 2000 capital budget, almost $6 million, goes for closing the Resh Sanitary Landfill and getting the Lund Landfill ready for use.

The six-year capital improvement program shown to the Washington County Commissioners on Tuesday estimates it will cost $24.5 million to close one landfill and prepare a replacement.

Resh will run out of space for trash in about 30 months, Public Works Director Gary Rohrer said. Lund should open in 24 to 28 months, he said.

The landfill will provide the county with landfill space for 80 years, he said.

The program also calls for spending almost $6 million on solid waste improvements, $4.2 million on water and sewer work and $4.2 million on Hagerstown Regional Airport projects.

It also calls for $3.5 million for Board of Education projects, including $1.6 million on renovations of South Hagerstown High School and $872,000 for work at the Clear Spring Elementary School.

The program, if approved, would allot $8.2 million for road improvements. Only $3.7 million of that would come from county funds because the county is being reimbursed for work related to the expansion of the Valley Mall.

Bastian said the county's outstanding debt, as of Jan. 1 was $136.5 million.

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