Capital project requests top $67 million for 1995 Wish list doubles fiscal 1994 budget


Carroll agencies have requested $67 million for capital projects for fiscal year 1995, which begins July 1.

The county Planning Commission began reviewing the projects yesterday to decide what the county can afford to build.

Commission members heard requests from the courts, sheriff, health department, Carroll Community College, Department of Recreation and Parks and several other departments.

The $67.3 million request is 105 percent higher than the capital budget approved for the current fiscal year. The county will spend $32.7 million in fiscal 1994, which ends June 30.

County budget officials said capital spending for fiscal 1995 probably will not increase much because revenue is not expected to increase.

The Planning Commission meetings continue today and Friday. Commission members will then meet in work sessions before recommending to the county commissioners which projects should be funded. The recommendations are due Dec. 10.

In addition to next year's requests, the Planning Commission is reviewing requests through 2000 and beyond.

The commission heard requests from the following departments yesterday:

* Circuit Court

Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr. requested $3.7 million to renovate the first floor of the Courthouse Annex at 55 N. Court St. in 2000.

He also asked for $52,300 to build a 40-by-20-foot lounge area in fiscal 1999 for bailiffs and other employees.

* Carroll Community College

The college's request included three building projects -- $10 million for a 51,000-square-foot library, to be built in the next fiscal year; $8 million for a 41,000-square-foot fine arts and performing arts center, to be built in fiscal 1998; and $13 million for a 56,000-square-foot physical education building, to be built after 2000.

* Health Department

Deputy Health Officer Larry Leitch asked for $14.6 million to build a 60,000-square-foot central health facility after 2000; $682,000 to renovate 3,000 square feet in a county building at Roberts Mill Road and Antrim Street in Taneytown, to provide nursing and other services; and $1.7 million for a 5,000-square-foot health services building in the Hampstead/Manchester area.

* Sheriff

The department requested $7.7 million for a new jail, to be built in fiscal 1996. However, Sheriff John H. Brown said yesterday that an 80-bed addition to the current jail, which has been planned for years, would handle population growth for 10 to 14 years.

The commissioners recently decided to buy a 24-bed modular unit to use as a temporary enlargement at the 120-bed jail at 100 N. Court St. During discussions about modular units, they agreed to start looking for a site for a new jail. No site has been selected.

* Recreation and Parks

Director Richard J. Soisson asked for $1.4 million in the next fiscal year to pay for a number of projects, including $239,000 for a baseball-soccer field behind North Carroll Middle School; $220,000 to build an indoor-outdoor shooting range; and $200,000 to continue work at Sykesville Park.

The Planning Commission will hear capital budget requests today from the Board of Education and Carroll County Public Library.

* Emergency Services

Henry Redman, Emergency Services Operations administrator, requested more than $6 million to replace or upgrade the radio communications system used by firefighters, police and other agencies. The request covers the 1995-1999 fiscal years.

Use of an 800 megahertz system would eliminate "dead spots" in the county where emergency personnel cannot be heard by or receive messages from the dispatcher. The agency believes it also would make on-scene emergency communications more efficient.

J. Michael Evans, director of General Services, also requested $60,000 for additional dry hydrants, which enable firefighters to draw water from streams, ponds or underground storage tanks in areas not served by public water systems.

Bob Cumberland of the county Firemen's Training Committee requested slightly more than $1 million for such items as a storm-water management pond to assist with run-off; a parking lot and hazardous materials training arena; a training pond for water rescue and divers' teams; conversion of the county fire training center to propane gas; and the purchase of 20 acres next to the current Emergency Operation's Center for future construction of a fire training academy.

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