Allegany Ponders Capital Program, Vote Scheduled June 1

Allegany County officials are reviewing the county’s proposed 2018-2022 Capital Improvement Program, and trying to stretch their limited $9 million in bond funds as far as they will go. 

From Times-News:

“I don’t want to say we are in crisis mode,” Jason Bennett, the county’s finance director, said, “but we don’t have tons of money to fund (projects).”

The 2018-2022 Capital Improvement Program presented to officials at last week’s business meeting lists dozens of potential county projects. From road maintenance and bridge repair to a new heating and cooling system for the Allegany County Detention Center, the list totals $154 million that would largely be covered by state funding and various grants. The county would be responsible for about $14 million.

But the county is only in the position to borrow $9 million in bonds over the next eight years, officials said.

After a $9 million bond this year, used mainly to replace the county EMS radio systems and fix a landslide that blocked the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad from reaching Frostburg, officials are unable to borrow again for at least two years to stay with a $3 million annual debt service.  

Officials have agreed to not exceed a $3 million annual debt in order to keep interest rates down. 

“It’s going to make for some hard decisions,” said Bennett. “Maybe go back and ask that some of the projects be scaled down or eliminated.” 

Other projects on the list include replacement boilers for Braddock and Washington middle schools and Fort Hill High School, an access road to the Allegany County Fairgrounds and roof replacements for the Career Center and Bel Air and Mount Savage elementary schools.

The final vote on the 2018-2022 Capital Improvement Plan Program is scheduled for June 1. The plan is available at www.alleganygov.org.