County Capital Plan Approved

SNOW HILL – County officials approved a $74 million five-year capital improvement plan this week.

The Worcester County Commissioners voted unanimously this month to approve a $74,157,732 capital improvement plan (CIP) for fiscal year 2022 through 2026.

“The bond rating agency looks closely at our capital improvement plan as a financial planning tool for the county,” said Kim Reynolds, senior budget accountant. “The requested plan helps anticipate the future financial needs of the county and is merely a planning document at this stage.”

The plan includes projects among various departments within Worcester County. It includes funding for building improvements at libraries in Pocomoke and Snow Hill as well as improvements at the Worcester County Jail. It includes $1.5 million annually for road paving as well as funding for several wastewater projects.

The plan includes $1.1 million in fiscal year 2022 for bulkhead replacement at the West Ocean City Commercial Harbor. There’s also funding allocated for various school improvement projects.

Reynolds stressed that the CIP was a planning document.

“The inclusion of a project in the plan does not constitute a guarantee of funding from the county,” she said.

Commissioner Chip Bertino questioned the inclusion of funding for repairs at the Pocomoke library when the county was planning to build a new facility.

Worcester County Library Director Jennifer Ranck said that because details regarding a new building were still up in the air she had included funding in the CIP for necessary building repairs. She said applications for grant funding from the state had been submitted as well.

Commissioner Jim Bunting echoed Reynolds’ comments regarding the CIP as a planning tool.

“I want everybody to remember this is just a planning document — nothing fixed here — and there’s certainly items in here I disagree with but I will vote for it because I don’t want to jeopardize when we go to the bond market,” he said. “We need to be united.”

The commissioners voted 7-0 to approve the CIP.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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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.