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Md. supplemental budget proposal includes $1.55 million for county's share of disparity grant

April 02, 2013|By KAUSTUV BASU | kaustuv.basu@herald-mail.com

ANNAPOLIS — Gov. Martin O’ Malley’s supplemental budget includes $6.4 million in additional money for a state-based disparity grant, about $1.55 million of which is likely to come to Washington County in the county’s general fund, according to Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington, and House Speaker Michael E. Busch, D-Anne Arundel.

The supplemental budget also sets aside $100,000 for a downtown redevelopment study for Hagerstown.

“I’ve been asking for this money,” Donoghue said, cautioning that the House and  Senate would have to come to an agreement on the items.

A Senate committee approved $1.55 million for Washington County for fiscal year 2014 as part of its share of the disparity grant — a wealth-based grant given to counties that have average per capita income tax revenues of less than 75 percent of the state average — but the issue did not make much progress in the House of Delegates.

The money for a study of downtown redevelopment in Hagerstown was included after several meetings between staff at the lieutenant governor’s office and D. Bruce Poole, a local attorney who has been involved in downtown redevelopment efforts.

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Donoghue, too, has been lobbying for the money with officials who are part of the O'Malley administration.

In February, Hagerstown Mayor David S. Gysberts wrote a letter to Gov. Martin O’Malley requesting $10 million for a proposed multi-use sports and events facility in downtown Hagerstown in the capital budget for fiscal year 2015.

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