Funding for a number of projects in Anne Arundel County is up in the air this week, as Maryland lawmakers hurry to send a spending plan to Gov. Martin O'Malley.
The Senate last week passed a capital budget for fiscal 2015. But on Friday, the House Appropriations Committee adopted subcommittee recommendations for the House of Delegate's own capital budget. Some projects in Anne Arundel would receive less cash under one, and more under the other.
The full House is expected to debate Wednesday and vote on its bill Thursday. After that, a conference committee will likely be assigned to smooth differences. The conference committee will have until April 7, the end of the 90-day session, to finish its work.
Until then, those who want the cash have to wait. Here's a look at how the final budget will impact the county.
for the Creative Arts
Linnell Bowen, CEO of the Maryland Hall for The Creative Arts, has been down this road.
Since fiscal 2010, Maryland Hall has received $1.25 million from state capital budgets. The arts center in Annapolis has been included in three out of the past five capital budgets.
O'Malley recommended $500,000 for Maryland Hall. The Senate kept that amount in the capital budget it passed earlier this week. But on Friday, the House Appropriations Committee adopted subcommittee recommendations that would send $1 million to Maryland Hall.
Maryland Hall is in the midst of a $15 million capital campaign to renovate the theater wing of its building. Projects encompass two additions to the rear of the 80-year-old building and changes in seating, windows, acoustics, aesthetics, and handicapped accessibility in the main auditorium.
Phase one of its plan is expected to start on June 1, Bowen said. An extra $500,000 would get phase two underway sooner, Bowen said.
"Extra money would allow us to start sooner," Bowen said. "But it's in that process and one never knows."
Annapolis, South River high schools
After the Senate passed a capital budget without two $700,000 grants for athletic facility improvements at Annapolis and South River high schools, a House committee Friday proposed restoring the money - and then some.
The Senate's move to strip the grants miffed some Anne Arundel County lawmakers, including House Speaker Michael E. Busch and Sen. John Astle. Busch is running for re-election in District 30A, which includes Annapolis High. Astle is running for re-election in a redrawn District 30 that includes both South River and Annapolis high schools.
But a House subcommittee Friday recommended $3.5 million for the two high schools, and the Appropriations Committee adopted the funding levels - a $2.25 million grant for Annapolis High and a $1.25 million grant for South River.
The money would be used for turf field projects at the schools, said Bob Mosier, a spokesman for Anne Arundel County Public Schools.
Busch said Friday he "felt, considering the actions the Senate took," that the House should propose more than the amount the Senate rejected so the two schools would get at least the $700,000 allotted in O'Malley's original proposed capital budget.
In written testimony this month, the school system said the "proposed improvements will allow the athletic fields to be used for county and state tournaments."
Astle said Friday he's hopeful the schools will get the money.
"The big boys will decide what they're going to do," Astle said. "And they're going to come back to us and what we get is what we get."
National Cryptologic Museum
- Cyber Center of Education and Innovation
The National Cryptologic Museum is looking to grow at Fort George G. Meade from 8,000 to 20,000-square-feet and the General Assembly could help that process or not, under two different capital budgets under consideration.
The Senate has passed a budget that would give the National Security Agency-run museum $1 million. The capital budget moving through the House, however, included no money at all for the museum as of Friday.
The money would go toward construction of the Cyber Center of Education and Innovation at Fort Meade, according to the Department of Legislative services. The center, a public-private partnership of the museum's foundation and NSA, will include new exhibit space for the museum, classrooms, and an auditorium to host regional and national conferences, forums and presentations.
The existing 8,000 net square feet of (the museum) is considered too small to "adequately display and interpret cryptologic artifacts and documents and lacks sufficient space to host events," according to DLS.
When asked about the differences in the two capital budgets, the NSA declined to comment on the issue. NSA spokeswoman Vanee' Vines called it a "state matter."
Nonpublic Aging Schools Program
The General Assembly started including money in its capital budget last year for a new program that helps private schools improve facilities, make repairs and upgrade school security.
The Nonpublic Aging Schools Program, administered by the Department of Education and Interagency Committee on School Construction, received $3.5 million in last year's capital budget.
O'Malley proposed the same amount for fiscal 2015, and the capital budget passed in the Senate agrees with the governor's proposal. But recommendations adopted by the House Appropriations Committee on Friday would send just $3 million to the program.
Private schools across the state have applied for funds available through the program. Eligible projects include all kinds of endeavors, including lead paint removal, bleacher repair and "renovation projects," according to
by the state's Public School Construction Program.
Archbishop Spalding High School in Severn was approved in December 2013 for a maximum of $42,700 through the program for an elevator project, according to a list of more than 300 projects obtained by
. Projects getting funding must be under contract by June 30, 2014. Uncontracted funds will revert to the state's general obligation bond fund.
St. Mary's Elementary School and St. Mary's High School applied for funding on Dec. 2 for security improvements at their facilities in Annapolis. Sixteen days later, the applications were approved and the schools are together set to be reimbursed more than $45,000 by the state.
Among other local private schools on the list are Anchors A Wee Preschool in Annapolis, Annapolis Area Christian School and Glen Burnie's Monsignor Slade Regional Catholic School.