Hogan’s budget is good news for local projects

Gov. Larry Hogan’s proposed $17.7 billion, FY19 budget is being praised by local officials and state lawmakers as being written with the Lower Shore in mind, a testament to the strong relationship among Salisbury, Wicomico County and state.

“We are ecstatic,” Mayor Jake Day told the Salisbury Independent this week.

Hogan included $500,000 for downtown Salisbury revitalization, including construction of an amphitheater on the Riverwalk.

“His support for Salisbury’s renaissance and the National Folk Festival are so important to us. We are grateful also for the governor’s support of our Field Operations Department improvements and in connecting septic systems in our city sewer system,” Day said.

Delegate Carl Anderton joked he knew the mayor was pleased with funding for the city because “Jake used a lot of exclamation points in his texts.”

Anderton, too, lauded Hogan for including money for projects including Downtown Salisbury, Perdue Stadium, new schools and the Holly Center.

“I don’t know if I could be any happier,” Anderton said.

“Everything that we asked for of the governor to be put in the budget is in the budget. It’s awesome. The governor really took care of us this year. All of us. When people wonder why I’m in Annapolis all summer, this is why. We stay in constant communication with the governor and the budget secretary. The governor’s staff has always taken care of us on the Lower Shore,” Anderton said.

“The goal now is, instead of having to scramble to get it in, we have to work to keep it in,” he said of funding.

County Executive Bob Culver, too, said he’s gratified the budget included items “to benefit Wicomico County.”

“The Shorebirds stadium renovations can be completed with this year’s proposal of state funding. The Salisbury-Ocean City-Wicomico Regional Airport, which is a tremendous economic boost to Wicomico County, has a proposed $1.9 million included in Gov. Hogan’s budget for public water,” Culver said.

Hogan’s budget pays for design work and construction on the water line extension to the airport at a cost of $1.9 million.

“Also in the proposed funding is several school projects including new construction at West Salisbury, Beaver Run and a systemic renovation at Delmar Elementary. I am deeply appreciative to have a governor who is so in touch with our area and especially Wicomico County and has proposed funding for such important projects,” Culver said.

Hogan’s budget also:

  • Completes renovations at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium, home of the Shorebirds, with a price tag of $580,000.
  • Pays $4.9 million of an $18.1 million total cost toward the replacement of the state’s Animal Health Laboratory on Nanticoke Road.
  • Extends Salisbury’s sewer lines out Mount Hermon Road to two houses within city limits at a cost of $471,000.
  • Provides $471,000 toward the environmental site design of Salisbury’s City Service Center at Isabella and Lake streets.
  • Adds lighting to the Mason-Dixon Sports Complex in Delmar for $104,000.
  • Constructs a new bulkhead and pier at Cedar Hill Marina for $99,000.
  • Kicks in $2 million toward the $10 million cost of building a new Delmar Elementary.
  • Provides the final $3.7 million in state funding toward the $28.6 million West Salisbury Elementary and $2.5 million toward the $42 million Showell Elementary project.
  • Funds $450,000 in renovations at the day-use bathhouse at Assateague State Park in Berlin and $500,000 in bathhouse renovations at Pocomoke River State Park’s Shad Landing.
  • Shores up portions of the Deal Island coastline, providing $1.2 million.
  • Continues construction of the J.M. Tawes Technology Center in Westover, with a $13 million infusion toward the $42 million price tag.
  • Provides $17.5 million for renovations at Guerrieri University Center and Maggs Natatorium at Salisbury University.
  • Cleans mold problems and fixes the heating and air-conditioning system at Deer’s Head Hospital in Salisbury at a cost of $1.6 million.
  • Includes $87,659 for the Somerset County Impact Scholarship at Wor-Wic Community College.

Hogan’s budget drew praise from Delegate Mary Beth Carozza, who called it a “strong, solid” document that’s “good for the Shore and all of Maryland” and “keeps Maryland on a sound fiscal course.”

The document includes $6.5 billion for kindergarten through 12th grade education, “beyond the required statutory funding formulas;” $365 million for school construction, the largest investment in a decade; $11.5 billion for Maryland’s Medicaid program, which provides health coverage to nearly 1.4 million Marylanders; and an additional $13.7 million to fight the heroin and opioid crisis in combination with nearly $160 million for substance abuse programs, Carozza said.

In a news release she listed Shore funding items that include:

  • $2 million for the Ocean City Beach Replenishment and Hurricane Protection program.
  • $1.3 million for Atlantic General Hospital inpatient care renovation.
  • $171,453 for the Joan W. Jenkins Behavioral Health Treatment Center expansion in West Ocean City.
  • $1.2 million for the Three Lower Counties Community Services for a new OB-GYN building.
  • $4.5 million for the Eastern Correctional Institution wastewater treatment plant upgrade, $320,000 for ECI water towers and $115,000 for co-generation plant upgrades.
  • $1.5 million for the Janis Island State Park cabin replacement and site work.
  • $1.2 million for Deal Island shoreline improvements.

Hogan did not propose new taxes or fees and held to 2 percent tuition growth at Maryland’s public four-year institutions, Carozza said, adding she appreciates him including the second $10 million installment of $50 million to fight the heroin and opioid epidemic.

Carozza said the budget has an all-time high of $21.7 million for the Maryland State Arts Council and $178.1 million in highway user revenue funds.

Sen. Jim Mathias told the Salisbury Independent this week he appreciates Hogan including money for the Somerset County scholarship, Shorebirds Stadium and renovations to Downtown Salisbury.

“Mental health providers, they reached out. There was supposed to be additional behavioral health funding. He put in 2 percent, but there is the opportunity with supplementals to reach the required 3.5 percent,” Mathias said.

“No new taxes or fees, these were what the governor was elected on. I’m pleased with his budget,” Mathias said.

“He and I get along exceedingly well.”

 

Reach Susan Canfora at scanfora@newszap.com.

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