They’ll be released next month.
Frederick, Md (KM). Even though both spending plans are not scheduled for release until next April 15th, Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner gave a “sneak preview” of the proposed capital budget and the six-year capital improvement program during her public information briefing on Thursday.
She started off with some good news. “The fiscal year ’20 budget will be based on existing tax rates. There will be no tax rate increases to either property taxes or income taxes,” said Gardner. “So under my administration, we have and will continue to live within our means.”
The capital budget and CIP contains a number of school construction projects, including a new Rock Creek School which will be located on the Walkersville Middle School campus. “The new Rock Creek School will provide new and expanded space and programs to meet the needs of students with special needs. Rock Creek does provide outstanding educational experiences for these students, but they do need–and, in fact, I would say they are in dire need–for new and modernized space.”
The new Rock Creek School is scheduled to open on September, 2021. “The old Rock Creek site will be demolished, and a brand new and much larger Waverly Elementary School will be constructed at that site. So that new Waverly Elementary School is currently being designed,” Gardner says. The new Waverly Elementary is expected to have 1,000 seats. The current site is 116% over capacity, says Gardner.
Last year, the County Council approved a supplemental budget to move up funding for two other school projects. “The supplemental funding allowed the county to advance the design of a new east county area elementary school a whole year earlier, and a 300-seat addition to Oakdale Middle School two years earlier. So we have moved those projects up,” says Gardner. Both projects are in the Capital Improvements Program.
Other construction projects include a new fire station for the west side of the city. “It will be located in the northern part of Frederick city just west of the new interchange off US 15 with Monocacy Boulevard,” Gardner says. “This station is critically needed to handle increased calls on the west side of 15. We really do not have a fire station on the west side of US 15, that northwest side of the city.” That project is fully funded, but she says site acquisition remains a sticking point.
In addition, there’s funding to replace the Green Valley Fire Station in Monrovia, and the Carroll Manor Fire Hall in Adamstown.
Another public safety project is a new, larger medical unit at the Adult Detention Center. Gardner says the expanded space is desperately needed to meet current needs, particularly for mental health. “We did try to accelerate that and ask that design to be included in the Governor’s supplemental budget, but it was not included. So this will probably not occur until ’21 or ’22 in our budget which is unfortunate,” she says.
The County Executive is holding a public hearing on both the operating and capital budgets on Thursday, March 14th at Winchester Hall,, 12 East Church Street, beginning at 7:00 PM. It will be broadcast live on the County’s Cable Channel 19, and webcast at www.FrederickCountyMD.gov/FCGTV. Citizens who cannot be there can participate in the hearing through social media.
Also, citizens are asked to participate in an on line survey about their budget priorities for fiscal year 2020. They poll is available at www.FrederickCountyMD>gov/BudgetSurveys. The survey will be available through March 31st.
By Kevin McManus