Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s proposed $47.9 billion state budget devotes millions in funding for Carroll County projects — and local politicians are hopeful those dollars will remain intact as the General Assembly reshapes the budget.
In the proposed budget submitted Jan. 15, Hogan designated $7.6 million for projects in Carroll County for fiscal year 2021. The General Assembly will decide in the coming months what parts of the proposal to keep before voting on final passage.
“The task that we’ll have is to try to keep that money in the budget," Del. Haven Shoemaker, R-District 5, said in an interview Tuesday. “I’m guardedly optimistic.”
“Being in the budget is where you want to be, so that’s a good start," Sen. Justin Ready, R-District 5, said in an interview.
According to a Tuesday news release from Shoemaker’s office, the Carroll-specific projects included in the budget proposal include:
- $5.1 million for the Carroll County Career and Technology Center
- $1 million for a grant to the Carroll County Public Safety Training Center
- $500,000 for a grant for Carroll Community College
- $500,000 for a new sewer pump station maintenance center in Westminster
- $250,000 for the Charles Carroll Community Center project
- $250,000 for facility upgrades at the Carroll County Agriculture Center
Although the version of the budget eventually approved by the General Assembly might not match Hogan’s proposal, Ready and Shoemaker said they will fight to keep the funding for Carroll projects in place.
“Until the budget is finalized, I think we should be happy that the governor thought as much of us to include those projects in his capital budget, but we got to work hard to make sure it stays in," Shoemaker said.
For Ready, having Carroll projects included in the governor’s budget is a win.
“Typically that’s a huge hurdle to get through," he said.
But there are more hurdles ahead, Ready said, as he strives to keep that funding in place. Ready is “pretty hopeful” the money designated for Carroll will survive the General Assembly.
Shoemaker and Ready, in the news release, expressed appreciation for the governor’s support.
“We’re thankful that Governor Hogan has put funding in his budget for these important community priorities," Ready is quoted as saying in the release. “It shows his commitment to ensuring that Carroll County and all parts of our state receive a fair shake in the capital budget process.”
In the release, Shoemaker deemed the funding of these projects “critical” to improve education and overall infrastructure in the county.
Last year, Carroll County received $4.7 million in project funding proposed by Hogan, according to Molli Cole, legislative aide to Shoemaker.
The bulk of that money — $3 million — went to the Army National Guard’s Freedom Readiness Center in Sykesville, Cole said. A new critical care unit planned for Carroll Hospital received $800,000, then $650,000 went to the Carroll Hospice Dove House, and $250,000 benefited the New Windsor water storage tank project.
Scope of the projects
Carroll County Breaking News
If the General Assembly approves Hogan’s $7.6 million proposal for Carroll, several major projects could move forward.
The Public Safety Training Center is also in the process of expanding. The first phase of the project concluded in 2017, providing a two-story classroom/administrative building, and a seven-bay reserve apparatus storage and maintenance building, according to a county news release. In February, the county commissioners approved a contractor to design the second stage of the project, which is still in the design phase, according to county spokesperson Chris Winebrenner. Plans include parking lot updates, training props, and an outdoor classroom.
Carroll Community College would use its funding for systemic renovations such as replacing bathroom fixtures, painting, reupholstering theater seats, replacing doors and more, according to Alan Schuman, executive vice president of administration for the college. Schuman noted some of the items in need of repair or replacement date back to the school’s opening in 1990.
The new sewer pump station in Westminster is a county-driven project. The septic system at the county’s maintenance center on Old Meadow Branch Road is in need of replacement, Winebrenner wrote in an email Wednesday. A new pump station would allow the county to eliminate two septic systems and enable the system to pump waste into Westminster City’s wastewater treatment plant, according to Winebrenner.
Charles Carroll Elementary School closed at the end of the 2015-16 school year and was later demolished, leaving the Silver Run community without a community focal point. The county plans to build a community center in its place.
The Carroll County Ag Center seeks funding to make facility improvements, which may include fencing, cement block barriers for events, a new generator, large ceiling fans and resurfacing a driveway.