Baltimore County to ask Assembly to fund schools, public safety

The Baltimore Sun

Baltimore County's list of requests for this year's General Assembly is focused on education and public safety, County Executive James T. Smith Jr. told state legislators at a meeting yesterday in Towson.

Despite reduced state revenue projections and the impact of the national economic collapse, he urged lawmakers to continue to support the legislature's $325 million commitment to a statewide public-school construction program for fiscal year 2010.

County public schools have requested $84.5 million in state funds for construction and renovations, he said, including projects at Parkville High School, Catonsville High and Milford Mill Academy that would account for $20.4 million. The county is asking for $18.9 million to build a new George Washington Carver Center for the Arts and Technology. Rising numbers of pupils in the Towson area require the construction of an elementary school, and $7 million has been requested from the state toward that project, Smith said.

He said the county is backing legislation that would allow local governments to use speed cameras on highways, require pawnshops to report transactions electronically to police and authorize the seizure of proceeds obtained through identity theft.

Other requests include legislation to transfer 10 liquor licenses from the east side of the county to Towson's Commercial Revitalization District, Smith said.

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