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Bartlett still trying for $31 million in support

February 15, 2002

Bartlett still trying for $31 million in support



By SCOTT BUTKI
scottb@herald-mail.com


U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., failed to convince President Bush to include $31 million in his submitted budget for area governments and hospitals to beef up security, prepare for disasters including a possible attack on Camp David and make other improvements, a Bartlett spokeswoman said Thursday.

But Bartlett still has a chance to get the funding, said Spokeswoman Lisa Wright.

Bartlett will try to convince congressional budget appropriation subcommittees to include the money in the annual budget, she said.

Bartlett hand-delivered the request to a White House legislative liaison in early December.

She said Bush added more money to this year's budget for law enforcement and health organizations which would be responding to potential disasters but did not indicate which groups would receive that money, Wright said.

Items making up the $31 million request for funding ranged from equipment that tests for the presence of biological contaminants to a new $10 million radio-communications system to tie in Washington County police agencies and fire and emergency organizations.

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"We are still optimistic that we will receive federal funding for these projects. The importance of the various programs certainly merits support from the federal level," County Administrator Rodney Shoop said. "We certainly have not lost hope."

Even if it doesn't get federal funding, the county is seeking a countywide communications system, Shoop said. It is too early to estimate how much a system would cost but he thinks it will be less than $10 million. The expenses could be paid over a five- to seven-year period, he said.

The Washington County Health System, parent company of the hospital, is seeking $9.8 million. Of that amount, $4.5 million would pay for improvements to the security system, a larger fuel storage area, expanded isolation facilities, and other changes to hospital facilities.

The most expensive item on Hagerstown Regional Airport's list was $2.75 million to move to a different runway an instrument landing system, which helps guide pilots in bad weather.

Frederick Memorial Hospital is seeking $1.35 million and Frederick County Emergency Services Division wants $1.8 million.

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