Cumberland Times-News


May 11, 2007

Proposed bond projects could create economic hardship for county

CUMBERLAND - Funding all the proposed bond projects listed in the fiscal 2008 Capital Improvement Program would create an economic hardship on Allegany County, Finance Director Jerry Frantz told commissioners Thursday morning.

The total CIP requests that would require bond projects through fiscal 2012 total more than $48 million, an increase of $15 million, or 45 percent, from fiscal 2007's CIP budget.

"That's a grave concern of the finance department," Frantz said during his presentation of the debt affordability component to the fiscal 2008 CIP. "That's a significant increase. (Fiscal) 2007 is being dwarfed by (fiscal) 2008."

Deputy Public Works Director Paul Kahl had earlier presented the fiscal 2008 CIP, which included current and proposed projects through 2012, to commissioners.

Proposed fiscal 2008 projects include renovations to the Allegany College of Maryland Library, the county's comprehensive plan, LaVale Streetscape lighting, an upgrade of the Georges Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant and improvements to the Federal Emergency Management Agency building at the former PPG plant.

Kahl used a PowerPoint computer presentation to explain the projects, which were broken down by their total costs and the county's share. He noted the FEMA project, which is listed at a $4 million county share in 2008, would be paid back using FEMA's rent.

Future proposed projects included the motor sports park at the Allegany County Fairgrounds in fiscal 2009 at a total of $30 million and a county share of $1.5 million, renovations to the new Public Safety Building in Mexico Farms and an auto tech building at ACM. Renovations to Washington and Braddock middle schools were also listed over a span of several years.

Frantz said capital improvement projects are primarily funded by debt-issue general obligation bonds, but can also be funded by PAYGO, paper gaming, grants, budgeting and coal taxes.

Around $6.6 million of the CIP budget's growth from 2007 to 2008 is in the public safety department, which is "an astounding increase in one year," Frantz said.

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