03.30.12 Executive Ulman Submits $175 Million Capital Budget Proposal for FY2013
March 30, 2012
Media Contacts: Kevin Enright, Director, Office of Public Information, 410-313-2022
Ray Wacks, Administrator, Budget Office, 410-313-2077
Executive Ulman Submits $175 Million Capital Budget Proposal for FY2013
Conservative spending plan includes major renovations to Atholton High School and Savage Branch Library
ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Ken Ulman today submitted his proposed Fiscal Year 2013 Capital Budget to Council Chairperson Mary Kay Sigaty. The $175.25 million spending plan would rely on less borrowed money than recommended by the Spending Affordability Committee, yet still includes major renovations to schools and libraries that will help maintain Howard County’s quality of life.
“This year’s capital budget focuses on reinvesting in our existing infrastructure: schools, libraries and our roadways,” said Executive Ulman. “With the State budget still in flux, we continue to be conservative in our decision-making process, and are always mindful that priorities such as education – which again makes up the largest portion of this proposed budget, the environment and key infrastructure come first.”
The FY2013 proposed Capital Budget contains $74 million for school projects. Significant renovations are proposed for Atholton High School ($10 million), Phelps Luck Elementary School ($9.2 million) and Gorman Crossing Elementary School ($5.1 million). Executive Ulman has also proposed funding for construction of a new Northeastern Elementary School in Elkridge and initial funding for the new middle school slated to serve that area, as well.
In light of this challenging economy, more students are turning to Howard Community College (HCC) for a top-notch, affordable education. This budget includes $13.5 million in State and local funds for HCC. With this funding, the college will be able to complete construction of the new health sciences building which will house the nursing, radiology and other essential health programs and complete the plans and engineering for a new science, technology and engineering building.
The proposed Capital Budget also reflects Executive Ulman’s commitment to environmental leadership by including $11 million in funding for stormwater facility upgrades, stream and watershed improvements, and retrofits. Unchecked rain water that runs off roofs, roads, parking lots and other impervious surfaces degrades streams and rivers and pollutes the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland’s most treasured and endangered natural resource. Last year’s budget added $10 million for this critical effort.
“As important as building new projects is, keeping our existing buildings well maintained is equally critical,” said Ulman. Other high-profile proposals include renovations to the Savage Branch Library ($5 million), and renovation of the old Miller Branch Library building to allow for expansion of the Ellicott City Senior Center as well as library administrative offices ($4.3 million). Ulman has also slated $1.48 million for site planning of the Elkridge Fire Station which is being relocated.
The spending plan also includes $10.5 million in road resurfacing. Due to the recession, dramatic state cuts and a corresponding drop in revenue over the last few years, the County has had to defer funding for road resurfacing and construction and sidewalk repair.
“That is one of the complaints we get the most, ‘Why aren’t the roads in better shape?’” said Jim Irvin, the County’s Director of Public Works. “With this level of funding we can make critical repairs at several locations throughout the County.” Some of the roads to be resurfaced include: Centennial Lane, Cradlerock Way, Vollmerhausen Road and West Running Brook Road.
This proposed Capital Budget provides a plan for essential investments while limiting new General Obligation Bond debt to less than $95 million – $5 million below the Spending Affordability Committee’s recommendation. Limiting General Obligation Bond debt below that recommendation ensures that investments the County makes this year are affordable in the long term.
The entire proposed Fiscal Year 2013 Capital Budget is available on the Howard County Government website at www.howardcountymd.gov/ProposedCapitalBudgetFY2013.pdf. The Proposed Operating Budget for FY2013 will be submitted to the County Council on April 20.