Wednesday, April 2, 2008

State allocates $3.7 million for Montgomery projects

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ANNAPOLIS — Montgomery County stands to receive about $3.7 million in construction money for design, renovation and building projects requested by local lawmakers if approved in the final capital budget.

Included in the allocation is funding for renovations at Camp Bennett in Brookeville, the Plum Gar Recreation Center in Germantown and the Maryland Youth Ballet.

‘‘Between the House and the Senate, most of the county projects were included,” said Del. Charles E. Barkley (D-Dist. 39) of Germantown, a member of the House Appropriations Committee.

Despite a tight budget year, the General Assembly is considering $25 million in bond bills for capital projects, $10 million more than lawmakers had predicted when they began budget deliberations. The House and Senate will each award $12.5 million, including $2.5 million for statewide projects, out of $70 million in requests from organizations and local governments.

The two chambers have an agreement on bond bills, said Del. Adrienne A. Jones, who chairs the House Appropriations capital budget subcommittee.

‘‘The agreement is we don’t touch their selections and they don’t touch ours,” said Jones (D-Dist. 10) of Woodstock

Both the House and Senate have passed their versions of the $3.1 billion capital budget and now must work on combining them.

Montgomery County lawmakers had requested $8.7 million in bond bills for county projects considered by both the House and Senate, sometimes with different price tags, and sometimes receiving from just one chamber.

Like the Senate, the House also passed $50,000 for the modular building for a food pantry at Sharp Street United Methodist Church, $125,000 for construction of the Arc of Montgomery County group homes and $100,000 for acquisition and renovation of the YMCA Youth and Family Services.

The House passed $200,000 for work on Imagination Stage in Bethesda; the Senate did not include the project in its budget. On the other hand, $200,000 is included in the Senate budget for the Gaithersburg Upcounty Senior Center, which received no funding from the House.

Missing from both lists is money for renovation of the old Rockville Post Office, money for Suburban Hospital and Adventist Health Care, the Laytonsville District Volunteer Fire Station and Aunt Hattie’s Place boys’ home in Sandy Spring.

‘‘I think we did pretty good,” Del. Roger Manno (D-Dist. 19) of Silver Spring said of the county’s bond bill take. ‘‘In [District] 19 we didn’t ask. We went around and asked for needs. But because it’s such a tight budget year, we didn’t go out to create projects.”

passed by the SenatE