Cumberland Times-News

June 18, 2013

Commissioners postpone Southern Middle funding discussion

Elaine Blaisdell
Cumberland Times-News

— OAKLAND — The Garrett County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday postponed a discussion about funding for a renovation project at Southern Middle School, pending a future meeting with school board members.

Commission Chairman Robert Gatto said he hopes to have a date set for the meeting in the next day or so. Part of the delay was attributed to scheduling conflicts and time was needed to formulate an agenda, said Commissioner Jim Raley.

“We want to formulate the agenda in advance so that it wasn’t a rambling meeting, so that it has some substantive discussion and it gets to the point of what needs to be discussed,” said Raley. “If we decide to move forward with the design phase the money is in the fiscal (20)14 budget as of now.”

The commissioners voted earlier this month to allow $582,400 for the design phase of the project to remain intact in the fiscal 2014 budget with the condition that no funds will be spent until further discussion with the board of education takes place. At that time, the commission approved the county’s budget.

The decision to expend the design’s fund money or to remove it altogether from the budget will be made upon mutual agreement between the commissioners and the BOE.

The estimated debt service obligation to the county for Southern Middle School is $750,000 per year for 30 years.

Whenever it’s held, the meeting will be open to the public and held in the Garrett College auditorium.

Also during the meeting, the commission approved a slimmed down version of Program Open Space funding requests. The funding requests came in at $360,348 and only $164,983 was approved. The board of education will receive $33,300 for new tennis courts at Southern Middle and Southern High schools, as well as funds for renovation of two existing tennis courts at the high school. The funding for Program Open Space must be met with a 10 percent match from the municipalities, according to John Nelson, director of Planning and Land Development.