Capital Budget: From Parks and Playgrounds to Oysters and Old Buildings

The capital budget bill spreads limited funding across various needs through capital programs open to county government applicants. 

A variety of local projects are slotted for funding in this year’s proposed capital budget bill.

Reading through the smattering of programs included in the State Capital Budget reminds one of the breadth of the work of the State and counties throughout Maryland. From parks and playgrounds to public safety priorities, to water quality and land preservation, county governments are working to improve Maryland, and appreciate State grant funding available to support local endeavors.

The capital budget bill proposes funding for particular projects, such as one county’s community college facility, or a certain detention center. The State’s capital funding for school construction is also captured in this bill, including the aging schools, the capital improvement program for all public schools, and a special grant program for counties with increasing enrollment and a high number of relocatable classrooms.

The capital budget bill also includes several ongoing state funding grant programs offered through various state departments that are open to applications from county governments in need of assistance. A few of these programs are listed below with links to this year’s capital budget bill as proposed, HB 101.

The capital budget bill as proposed includes the Maryland Consolidated Capital Bond Loan of 2019, with a total principal amount of $1,089,194,000.

Statewide programs open to county government applicants in this proposed budget bill include:

Public Library Capital Grant Program

Provide grants to acquire land, design, construct, and equip public library
facilities. $ 5,000,000

Senior Centers Capital Grant Program

Provide grants to acquire property and to design, construct, renovate, and equip
senior citizen activities centers. $818,000

African American Heritage Preservation Grant Program

Provide funds to assist in the protection of properties with cultural and historic significance to the African American community. $1,000,000

Maryland Historical Trust

Provide funds for historical preservation and museum assistance. $600,000 For more information about this program, see Maryland Historical Trust Honors Local Projects.

Public Safety Communications System

Provide funds to continue construction of a statewide unified public safety radio communications system. $30,840,000 For more information about this program, see Central Maryland Counties Connect on State’s Public Safety Radio Network.

Community Parks and Playgrounds

Provide funds for grants to local governments to design and construct capital–eligible
park and playground improvement projects. $2,500,000

Rural Legacy Program

Provide funds for the purchase of conservation easements and the acquisition of land. $5,000,000

Coastal Resiliency Program

Provide funds for the acquisition, design, and construction of shoreline restoration and other projects to protect coastal infrastructure, and for post–implementation monitoring and adaptive management. $6,065,000

Oyster Restoration Program

Provide funds to design and construct oyster habitat restoration projects. $2,610,000

Local Government Infrastructure Fund

Provide funds to provide grants and loans to local governments and private
providers for improvements to broadband Internet access. $9,680,000

Comprehensive Flood Mitigation Program

Provide funds to local governments for projects which reduce the risk of loss of
life and property from flooding. $5,000,000 For more information about this funding, see Counties See Helpful State Role in Flood Response and Recovery.

Maryland Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund

Provide funds to finance drinking water projects.  $5,287,000

Maryland Water Quality Revolving Loan Fund

Provide funds to finance water quality improvement projects. $8,764,000

Water Supply Financial Assistance Program

Provide funds for assistance to State and local government entities to acquire,
design, construct, rehabilitate, equip, and improve water supply facilities. $1,960,000

This year’s capital budget bill also authorizes the Maryland Consolidated Capital Bond Loan Preauthorization Act of 2020 in total principal amount of $254,195,000 to be used for the continuation of the statewide radio system. This pre-authorization will take effect on June 1, 2020.

Public Safety Communications System

Provide funds to continue construction of a statewide unified public safety radio
communications system. $8,000,000 For more information about this program, see last year’s post about this program, Maryland FiRST Receives Funding in Governor’s Proposed Budget.

The Capital Budget Process

The General Assembly may add or subtract funding from the capital budget bill as proposed. The General Assembly may not take final action on the capital budget until they have passed the operating budget. Following the General Assembly’s passage of the capital budget, the capital budget bill must be signed by the Governor and is subject to the Governor’s line-item veto power.

As described by the Department of Legislative Services:

Unlike the operating budget, in acting on the capital budget bill, the legislature
may amend the budget to add and delete projects from the capital bond program. The legislature may also increase project funding and add contingent, conditional, or restrictive language to the bill regarding how the funds may be applied.

For more information, see Maryland’s Budget Process from the Department of Legislative Services.