County OKs $113M Capital Project Plan

SNOW HILL — Emphasizing it was merely a planning document, the Worcester County Commissioners on Tuesday approved a five-year Capital Improvement Plan that calls for expenditures over $113 million through 2020.

The County Commissioners approved the five-year CIP after holding a public hearing on the planning document on Tuesday.

“Before we go any further, it’s important to point out this is only a planning document,” said County Administrator Harold Higgins before the public hearing on Tuesday. “Inclusion of a project on the CIP does not constitute a guarantee of funding from the county. Some capital projects will be added, deleted or amended as necessary.”

The plan as submitted on Tuesday calls for roughly $113 million in capital projects through 2020. According to the plan, roughly $12 million, or 12 percent, of the funding would come from the county’s general fund, while another $56 million, or 53 percent would be bonded.

The plan calls for expenditures totaling roughly $50 million for the replacement of Showell Elementary School. The plan calls for an initial $770,000 for Showell Elementary in 2016 with outlays steadily increasing through 2020 to reach the estimated $50 million total cost.

Also under the public schools category in the CIP is an expansion of Stephen Decatur Middle School at a cost of around $9 million.

The CIP includes roughly $11 million in expected expenditures for general government facilities. Roughly half, or about $5.3 million, would be dedicated to a new county public library in Berlin. Another $5 million would be dedicated to upgrading the county’s 800 Mhz system for law enforcement and emergency services.

Also included on the list is the cap and closure of the Berlin landfill, asphalt overlay on county roads and a new storage facility in Snow Hill. Under the water and wastewater sub-category for Public Works are several projects including water connection and effluent disposal improvements in the Mystic Harbor service area and a new spray irrigation facility near Newark, for example.

The Public Works’ solid waste division includes several projects in the CIP including the construction of Cell 5 at the Central Landfill, a new landfill administration building renovation and addition and a Snow Hill gas remediation project. Under the Public Safety category, the CIP includes a $10 million upgrade to the Worcester County Jail. Under the parks and recreation sub-category is land acquisition and development for Showell Park.