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Funding for key projects safe, delegation tells Hagerstown council

December 08, 2009|By ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN -- Three members of the Washington County delegation to the Maryland General Assembly met Tuesday with the Hagerstown City Council in anticipation of a legislative session that "will be even worse than last year," Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II said.

Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington, began by saying times are tough.

"We don't want to see you bleed," he said.

Del. LeRoy E. Myers Jr., R-Washington/Allegany, the delegation's chair, also attended the meeting. Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington, was in Annapolis but participated in the meeting through a telephone connection.

Funding for projects that council members have expressed a desire to protect, such as construction of a new library downtown and a new Maryland State Police barracks, is safe, Donoghue said.

That funding can't be taken away, he said.

Funding for improvements to the intersection of Dual Highway and Edgewood Drive also is safe, Donoghue said.

Council members also have mentioned the importance of protecting funding to the University System of Maryland.

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House Speaker Michael E. Busch, D-Anne Arundel, while in Hagerstown in November said he doesn't expect a third tug-of-war over the center's budget.

Donoghue reiterated that point Tuesday.

"The Speaker made clear the university is doing very well. He will help us preserve the funding," Donoghue said.

Myers mentioned a recent task force report on USMH.

"It shows we have something unique in Western Maryland," Myers said.

The study showed continued growth is necessary, in terms of more classes and more electives, Myers said.

Should there be a battle over USMH funding this year, the study will be very good to show the legislature, Munson said.

Councilman Martin Brubaker asked the legislators for "two-way communication" if there are available stimulus funds the city might be able to use.

Myers commended the council for allotting $5,000 to help fund the Washington County Community Lobbying Coalition to the General Assembly.

He called the coalition effective and said it is helpful to the delegation.

"We're all in this fight together under these economic circumstances," Munson said at the end of the meeting.

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