County Expects To Spend $91M On Projects Over 5 Years; $1.6M Landfill Project Removed

SNOW HILL – The Worcester County Commissioners approved a capital improvement plan this week but not before removing funding for improvements at the landfill.

The commissioners on Tuesday approved a five-year capital improvement plan (CIP) but only after removing a $1.6 million landfill administration building renovation from the document.

“I don’t feel it’s the proper time for us to include this,” Commissioner Jim Bunting said. “We’ve got to look at our solid waste affairs.”

County staff approached the commissioners Tuesday seeking approval of a $91,867,085 million CIP that included improvements to local libraries, schools and wastewater plants, among other facilities.

“The plan summary by category totals all projects for general government, public safety, public works, public schools and the community college,” said Kim Reynolds, the county’s senior budget accountant.

She said the bulk of funding for the projects included in the document, 58 percent, would come from general bond funds. Slightly more than 8 percent of CIP funding would come from the county’s general fund while the remainder of project costs would be generated through user fees, grant funds, loans, assigned funds and enterprise bonds.

“The bond rating agencies look closely at the CIP as a financial planning tool for the county,” she said. “The requested plan helps anticipate future financial needs for the county and is merely a planning document at this date. Inclusion of a project in the plan does not constitute a guarantee of funding from the county.”

Bunting brought up the $1.6 million landfill administration building renovation/addition, which was listed for funding in fiscal years 2020 and 2021, and questioned the need for it. Staff said the building had been constructed in 1990 and had never been updated.

Kelly Shannahan, the county’s assistant chief administrative officer, said that even if it was in the plan the project would still come back to the commissioners for approval before any work was done.

“This would just be a placeholder if it was to occur sometime in the future,” Shannahan said.

Bunting said in that case it could be included in the county’s next CIP. Commissioner Joe Mitrecic agreed.

“To spend $1.6 million in a fund that already costs citizens over a million dollars a year is not the right thing to do,” he said.

The commissioners voted to remove the project from the CIP. Once the project was removed, the commissioners approved the CIP unanimously.

Commissioner Chip Bertino pointed out, however, that the document would need to address broadband infrastructure at some point if the county intended to move forward with bringing high-speed internet to its rural residents.

“There’s nothing in the CIP over the next five years for infrastructure improvements for that,” he said. “I recognize that today’s not the day to do that but as we move forward with conceptualizing what we’re going to do I think at some point that’s going to have to hit the CIP.”

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

Alternative Text

Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.