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Md. fiscal woes imperil Howard projects, aid


Howard County officials fear that the state's decision to use money from Program Open Space to pay off the deficit will cost the county $3.1 million and delay plans for the county's first golf course and other park projects.

The state has decided to tap $30 million set aside for local parkland acquisition funds to cover the latest $109 million state deficit.

Howard County faces the loss of $1.5 million to buy land for a golf course in the Elkridge area and $1.6 million to cover what it already has paid for 37 acres adjacent to David Force Park in west Ellicott City near Interstate 70 and Bethany Lane.

Budget Officer Raymond S. Wacks said yesterday that officials from the county and other local governments are lobbying state legislators to reverse the decision to tap the Open Space fund.

"We are hopeful that we can change the state's mind because it is so critical to these projects," Mr. Wacks said.

However, County Executive Charles I. Ecker was more pessimistic: "I am not sure we will convince the General Assembly."

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