When local Program Open Space (POS) distributions are made this July, they will not include $8.5 million in repayments for local POS cuts from prior budget years. The Maryland General Assembly has placed restrictions on the release of the repayment funding from the Dedicated Purpose Account and Governor Larry Hogan has not yet decided whether he will release the repayment funding under the imposed restrictions. The full normal local POS funding for FY 2020, totaling $48 million, will be distributed normally through the local POS formula.
In the FY 2020 budget (HB 100), the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act (HB 1407), and budget language in the Joint Chairmen’s Report for the 2019 Session, the General Assembly authorized the Governor to process a budget amendment of $43.8 million (including the $8.5 million local repayment) from the Dedicated Purpose Account for a variety of parks and recreation and land preservation uses. Hogan must either release the entire $43.8 million or chose not to spend the funds.
From HB 100 (the local repayment is in item (3)):
Further provided that, contingent on the enactment of HB 1407, authorization is hereby granted to the Governor to process a budget amendment for $43,860,950 of balance designated for Program Open Space Repayment in the Dedicated Purpose Account for the purpose of providing special fund appropriations only for the programs and purposes herein listed:(1) $2,020,015 $3,999,576 to program K00A04.01 Maryland Park Service Statewide Operations;(2) $190,888 to program K00A09.01 Engineering and Construction General Direction;(3) $8,535,752 to program K00A05.10 Outdoor Recreation Land Loan for Program Open Space – Local Share;(4) $6,893,048 to program K00A05.10 Outdoor Recreation Land Loan for Rural Legacy Program;
(5) $8,500,036 to program K00A05.10 Outdoor Recreation Land Loan for Natural Resources Development Fund, provided that $4,875,000 of this appropriation is restricted for the following purposes: (a) $1,000,000 for the design, construction, and capital equipping of facilities renewal projects at the Historic St. Mary’s Commission; and (b) $3,875,000 to complete construction and equipping of renovations to the Patterson Center at the Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum;
(6) $9,286,358 to program K00A05.10 Outdoor Recreation Land Loan for Critical Maintenance Program; and
(7) $6,455,292 to program L00A11.11 for Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Program, provided that $999,000 of this appropriation is restricted for the purposes of providing funds to the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission for the purchase of agricultural easements by the counties in the Tri–County Council for Southern Maryland.