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County six-year plan includes more for capital improvements

February 13, 2002

County six-year plan includes more for capital improvements



By SCOTT BUTKI
scottb@herald-mail.com


The Washington County Commissioners on Tuesday took their first look at the county's proposed six-year capital improvement program, which includes $500,000 more in annual capital funding for the Washington County Board of Education and money for two planned branch library buildings.

The commissioners made no decisions on any aspect of the plan during the four-hour discussion.

The capital improvement program, or CIP, was unveiled Friday.

The CIP proposal lists funding of $27.7 million for fiscal year 2003, up from $26.2 million for fiscal 2002. The fiscal year starts July 1.

The annual CIP budget for fiscal 2003 is officially adopted in the spring. While the county approves the budgets one year at a time, the six-year program is intended to help plan for the future.

The CIP would increase capital funding for the Washington County Board of Education to $5 million in each of the next six years, up from $4.5 million.

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The increase for schools, if approved, would mean an addition to Fountain Rock Elementary School could be built a year sooner, in 2006 instead of 2007.

Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook told the School Board at a joint meeting later Tuesday that the $500,000 annual increase would be made available on the condition the School Board look into more efficient ways to use school facilities.

School Board members had no immediate reaction to Snook's comments.

The CIP proposal lists $200,000 each for planned branch library buildings in Smithsburg and Boonsboro, with the rest of the money for those facilities to come from federal grants and private contributions. The Smithsburg library would get $100,000 in fiscal 2003 and 2004 and the Boonsboro library would get $100,000 in fiscal 2005 and 2006.

The CIP lists the cost of replacing the current Smithsburg building with a 10,000-square-foot branch building at $1.6 million.

The program lists the cost of replacing Boonsboro's current branch building with a 13,000-square-foot branch building at $2 million.

Last year the commissioners gave $200,000 for a new 8,000-square-foot Clear Spring Library, which cost about $800,000.

Commissioner Bert L. Iseminger said at the commission meeting that he thought the county contribution should be higher for the Smithsburg and Boonsboro libraries because the library buildings and community sizes are larger.

Commission President Gregory I. Snook said it might be better to have a consistent funding amount for libraries.

The proposed CIP also includes:

- An annual $50,000 increase for Hagerstown Community College, starting at $500,000 for fiscal 2003 and reaching $700,000 in fiscal 2007.

- $1.1 million for land acquisition for and design and construction of a combined Emergency Operations Center, Volunteer Fire and Rescue and Special Operations Team Office. The site would include land for a fire/emergency management system/law enforcement training facility. Construction of the project would not start until fiscal 2006, under the proposed program. It is not funded until 2008.

- $9.7 million for closing out and capping Resh Sanitary Landfill to meet federal requirements.

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