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Budget includes runway funds

February 12, 2003|by JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

Washington County's proposed $45.8 million capital improvement program budget for the next fiscal year includes $23 million for the airport runway extension and $150,000 to start design work for a $15.9 million emergency communications system.

Of the $45.8 million proposed capital budget, $16.8 million is county cash or money the county borrows, Director of Budget and Finance Debra Bastian said.

Tuesday morning was the first of three meetings the Washington County Commissioners will have to review the proposed capital budget before they start making changes. That budget will be discussed again on Tuesday, Feb. 25, at the County Administration Building.

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The commissioners will start reviewing the proposed operating budget from 9 a.m. to noon this Thursday.

A public hearing on the proposed operating and capital improvement program budgets is set for 7 p.m. on May 6 at Hagerstown Community College's Kepler Theatre.

The $1 million in county money for the runway extension this coming fiscal year is dependent upon the project receiving state and federal grants, Bastian said.

Construction on the runway extension is expected to start in August as work is done to relocate navigational aides, Airport Manager Carolyn Motz said.

The runway extension, from 5,461 feet to 7,000 feet, is expected to be complete in 2006 with overlay work done in 2007, Motz said. Of the total $67.7 million price tag, $54 million comes from federal funding, $11 million from state funding and approximately $3 million from the county.

The cost of the emergency communications system rose from $15 million to $15.9 million because the project would be spread out over six years, Bastian said.

Because of a previous commitment made by the last Board of County Commissioners, $5 million is proposed for the Washington County Board of Education. The newly elected School Board has asked for $5.9 million for fiscal year 2003-2004, which begins July 1, and $9 million for fiscal year 2004-2005.

The $5 million includes $1.1 million toward a new Maugansville Elementary School and $3.1 million toward a renovation and addition to Salem Avenue Elementary, according to the proposal.

Also included in the proposal are:

  • $100,000 in county funds toward a Smithsburg Branch Library.

  • $3.6 million in state funds toward closing out and capping Resh Sanitary Landfill. The total project cost grew from $9.7 million to $10.2 million.

  • $2.2 million in state and local money toward phase one of expanding Maugans Avenue. This phase would expand the road to five lanes between Interstate 81 and U.S. 11.

    The commissioners will hear a presentation on that project next week, Public Works Director Gary Rohrer said. A meeting with residents in that area will be held at 7 p.m. on Feb. 26 at Maugansville Elementary.

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