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District Court building appears back on track to receive state funding; Design, construction money expected for 2000, 2001


Carroll County's new multimillion-dollar District Courthouse appears to be back on track for design and construction money in state budgets for 2000 and 2001, county officials said yesterday.

In December, officials discovered what they described as a glitch in the project: Construction money that was supposed to have been in the state's next fiscal budget was omitted from a preliminary draft.

But Steven D. Powell, county director of management and budget, said the project is expected to receive $7.6 million in construction funding in 2001, and $63,000 for design in the 2000 budget.

Circuit Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr., Carroll's administrative judge, has worked for more than eight years for the new building.

But the judge seemed relatively calm after a delay in filing information by the county sidetracked planning and design money that had been approved by the 1997 General Assembly.

"We'll just keep our fingers crossed," Beck said at the time. "We got the planning money last year and, based on my experience in the legislature, the capital construction money usually follows the planning money."

Beck knew the process, as a state senator from Carroll for seven years and a delegate for 10 years, before his appointment to the bench in 1989. He wrote to the chairmen of the capital budget subcommittees for the Senate and the House of Delegates to have the money reinstated.

The new state facility will be next door to the county-owned Courthouse Annex on Court Street, where the state's two District Court judges and two of the county's three Circuit Court judges hear cases. A third Circuit Court judge uses the historic courthouse nearby.

Counties pay for the circuit courts, while the state pays for district courts. But Powell said the county plans to donate the land for the new District Court building to the state. Two buildings at 101 N. Court St. will be razed.

In return, he said, the county will take back space it leases to the District Court on the first floor of the Courthouse Annex.

The new District Court building would belong to the state, said Powell. It also would house the offices of the public defender and parole and probation.

Construction is expected to take about two years. Once the building is ready, the District Court space on the first floor of the annex will be converted for another courtroom and chambers for the Circuit Court.

Sun staff writer John Murphy contributed to this article.

Pub Date: 2/10/99

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