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Budget draft calls for $500,000 for campus

February 05, 1999|By SCOTT BUTKI

A draft of Washington County's proposed capital improvement program for fiscal 2000 now has a $500,000 line item for the planned University System of Maryland campus at Allegheny Power's planned Friendship Technology Park.

When the $30.4 million program was presented to the Washington County Commissioners at a Jan. 26 meeting, the money for the campus was in a contingency fund.

Money for the campus now has a separate item for two reasons, County Administrator Rodney Shoop said. On Monday night a steering committee looking at four proposed sites for the campus voted to endorse the Allegheny Power site.

County government also wants to show its support for a campus where students could attend classes from any of the 13 system colleges offering classes, he said.

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The county is hoping to get financial assistance from the state for construction of the building. Public Works Director Gary Rohrer has estimated the cost of constructing a single-building campus at $10 million to $12 million.

The commissioners discussed the program and possible changes to it during a Tuesday budget workshop. Commissioner Bert Iseminger and Commissioners President Greg Snook were absent.

The capital improvement program draft budget calls for using $14.8 million in general obligation bonds, more than twice the amount issued during the 1999 fiscal year. It also suggests using $2 million from the county general fund.

Commissioner William Wivell has said he wants to get the county's share of the program down from $17 million to about $10 million.

Washington County Planning Commission Director Robert Arch, a member of the capital improvement committee, said the proposed five-year capital program for fiscal 2001 to 2005 calls for the total amount to be reduced to $21.8 million in 2001 and to less than $19 million in fiscal years 2002, 2003 and 2004.

The program does not list any money for the second phase of the Hagerstown Community College amphitheater, which includes building permanent seating, a separate building for bathrooms and ticket offices.

College President Norman Shea has said the improvements would cost less than $200,000. Phase 1 was paid for with $200,000 raised by the alumni to match a state grant.

Wivell questioned whether it is appropriate for the county to give HCC money for something he does not consider an essential educational facility.

Commissioners John Schnebly and Paul Swartz said they would support putting $100,000 in the capital improvement program for the amphitheater as a matching grant.

That would be on the condition that the college forgo costs on some projects included in the program, Schnebly said. The program calls for spending $548,000 to reroof three buildings, convert the library to a student services building and renovate the administration building.

The largest chunk of the program, $8.45 million, is for road improvements. Almost $6 million is for capping and closing the Resh Sanitary Landfill and preparing its replacement, the Lund Landfill.

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