Howard County Executive Ken Ulman unveiled his fiscal 2014 capital budget proposal Monday, a $442.4 million spending program that includes more than $80 million for the public school system.
"Because we've managed wisely, we can afford these critical investments," Ulman said in a statement. "With interest rates low, now is exactly the right time to commit to the future of our children and our communities, to protect our environment and to make sure we are maintaining what we already have."
Ulman's capital budget allocates $81.4 million to the Howard County Public School System and $18.9 million to Howard Community College, up from $77.5 million and $13.5 million, respectively, last year.
Funding for the school system will support a new Elkridge Middle School, an addition at Running Brook Elementary and renovations at Atholton High, Longellow Elementary, Deep Run Elementary and Wilde Lake Middle.
Ulman has proposed $17.8 million be directed to Howard Community College for a new science and engineering building.
He also has proposed allocating $2 million toward a new library building in Elkridge.
Ulman's capital budget includes funds for a new home for the Howard County Economic Development Authority and the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship in downtown Columbia. It also includes funding for stormwater management and other capital improvements in Historic Ellicott City.
"The plan for Downtown Columbia is gaining momentum and we want to feed off that energy," Ulman said. "Putting our economic development engines in the heart of downtown will attract the entrepreneurial vitality we need."
Troy Regional Park is scheduled to receive $6.8 million in construction funding where ball fields and other amenities are expected to open in 2014. Blandair Park also is set to receive $6.9 million as its second phase of construction advances.
More than $14 million will be allocated for stormwater projects this year as a new state-required program to protect the Chesapeake Bay gets under way.
Ulman has also allocated $50 million for agricultural land preservation in response to the growth tiers designation.
The capital budget was presented to the County Council Monday. The council will hold a public hearing on the proposed budget April 15 at 7:30 p.m. in the Banneker Room of the George Howard Building in Ellicott City.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun