Ocean City Today

County agrees to $100M capital projects plan

By Brian Gilliland | Jan 04, 2018

(Jan. 5, 2018) Forgoing the need for further discussion after no public comment was received on the proposed fiscal years 2019-2023 capital improvement plan during a hearing on Tuesday, the Worcester County Commissioners approved the $100.3 million proposal.

While acceptance of the plan does not automatically ensure funding for the outlined projects, the plan delineates the spending priorities for Worcester County on capital projects for the next five fiscal years, starting July 1.

County Administrator Harold Higgins said it is important to have a plan for the future needs, since they could affect current spending.

To pay for the projects, the county will draw about $9 million from its General Fund, about $16 million from state matching funds, $4.8 million in user fees, $5.8 million in grants, a loan of $1.7 million from the state and about $5.4 million in designated funds, but the lion’s share of the costs will come from bonds: about $54.3 million in general obligation bonds, and about $3.3 million in enterprise bonds.

More than half the requested amount is for the public schools, with the Showell Elementary School replacement project taking up most of that funding itself.

The estimated cost of the Showell school project is $42.4 million, an addition to Stephen Decatur Middle is estimated at $9.5 million and roof replacements at Pocomoke and Snow Hill middle schools should cost about $3.6 million each during the time period of the report. Wor-Wic community college is also listed with a $2.6 million expenditure for a new academic building.

The Public Works division has the next most expensive entries into the plan, with the construction of another landfill cell for solid waste and a renovation to the existing administration building on the site costing about $14.6 million over five years.

Roads, bridges and salt are expected to cost about $12.5 million and water/wastewater is expected to incur about $6.7 million in expenses.

The jail comes next, with $12.3 million in improvements sought to its heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems plus roofing replacement, mechanical piping and safety systems.

Public libraries, roads, wastewater disposal and parks all have requests listed in the approved plan.

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