ANNAPOLIS — Frederick County’s state senators have a new plan for the $5 million originally intended for a downtown hotel project and conference center in Frederick.
Sens. Michael Hough (R-Frederick and Carroll) and Ron Young (D-Frederick) both said Monday they met earlier this month with the state’s secretary of budget and management, David Brinkley, to discuss how those funds could be allocated.
County Executive Jan Gardner (D) had originally requested $6 million from Gov. Larry Hogan’s (R) office for the Lake Linganore dredging project, which aims to remove 100,000 cubic yards of sediment from the lake — enough to fill more than 13 Goodyear blimps.
In Hogan’s capital budget, he included $5 million for the project, which in prior budgets was intended for the hotel and conference center in Frederick, but never released.
Both Hough and Young have a list of projects in their districts. Young said he is interested in spending just under $1.4 million on the dredging project.
Hough said his projects include:
- $500,000 for water infrastructure improvements in Brunswick.
- $500,000 for road improvements in Mount Airy.
- $476,000 for a public safety/public works facility in Brunswick.
- $203,000 for revitalization work in Middletown.
- $100,000 to Burkittsville for improvements to the Shafer House, a headquarters for the Union army during the Civil War.
- $50,000 for improvements to the Catoctin Museum of the Ironworker in Thurmont.
Young said his proposals, outside of the dredging project, include:
- $500,000 for the proposed veterans center on Monocacy Boulevard.
- $500,000 for a homeless shelter to be built on Hayward Road in Frederick.
- $200,000 for the Sophie & Madigan’s Playground project in Frederick.
- $200,000 for improvements to the Weinberg Center.
- $75,000 for improvements to the Maryland Ensemble Theatre.
- $75,000-$80,000 for Carroll Manor Fire Co.
- $13,000 for a tennis court at the Ruritan Club in Jefferson.
Officials emphasized this week these are proposals and still need to be approved by both the House of Delegates and Senate. Gardner said she was “surprised” Hough and Young were looking at other projects around the county, but added it’s within their purview to try to spend the money on various priorities and she respects the state’s budget process.
However, she said she would like to see more money spent on the Lake Linganore dredging project, as it would improve its water quality, and the lake serves as the primary source of drinking water for the city of Frederick and a backup source for the county.
“I’m pleased it is being spent in the county and I do want it to stay that way, but there hasn’t been coordination on this reallocation,” Gardner said of the $5 million, adding that she still needed to review Hough’s and Young’s proposals.
Hough and Young both said the $5 million is a one-time occurrence, given that each typically has less than $200,000 in the capital budget per legislative session to allocate to projects.
“It’s a huge opportunity, and I’m glad we’re able to address a number of issues across the district,” Hough said.
“I think we covered a lot of needed things, and as far as the requests I had, I feel pretty good about taking care of them as I can,” Young said.
Both the House and Senate, however, need to approve those proposals as part of the capital budget, and it’s possible they could change by the time a final version is adopted.
Del. Dan Cox (R-Frederick and Carroll) said that he’s hopeful the money will be spent on the aforementioned projects, and that the county will lose important infrastructure money countywide if the delegation can’t agree on where to spend it.
“I think the prospects are good because both senators are on board,” he said.
Del. Carol Krimm (D-Frederick), who sits on the House Appropriations Committee, said she heard about the veterans center, dredging project and others, but still needs to review the rest of Hough’s and Young’s proposals.
“This is a two-chamber budget,” Krimm said. “Whatever they have lined up will have to come over here and will have to be reviewed, and made a part of the budget, or not.”