"Any decision that's not what we have today will be an improvement," he said, with a laugh, about the federal hold-up. "Whatever is done in [Washington,] D.C. to give certainty to the budgetary process will be an improvement."

Bennett said the city is just in a holding pattern but he also hopes Aberdeen will see the federal budget improve soon.

"I think we are all kind of waiting to see what happens," he said. "Obviously it frustrates me because there are business parks that were going to build out."

Bennett said the first Merritt building was supposed to be marketed to medical professionals, so it remains to be seen how that would pan out.


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He believes the development will ultimately take off.

"Those folks have put a quality project together," Bennett said.

He also said The GATE project at APG, which benefited from an "enhanced-use lease," has hurt the city's other developments geared to defense contractors. The GATE is on federal land outside the city limits and is receiving tax concessions from Harford County.

"Nobody envisioned that [The GATE] was going to grow as big as it did and that obviously has taken away business in the city," he said. "It is what it is, but we just didn't realize that was going to be that large."

Bennett said the Army has a "little more incentive" for businesses with that project.

"They have the first blush of looking at them," he said about APG.

About the future of the defense economy, he noted: "It is what it is. Everybody's just kind of keeping their fingers crossed."