Public Hearing Set For County Capital Improvement Plan

SALISBURY – The public will have an opportunity to comment on Wicomico County’s proposed capital planning document next week.
On Jan. 5, the Wicomico County Council will hold a public hearing on Acting County Executive John Psota’s proposed Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for fiscal years 2022-2026 and the Capital Budget for fiscal year 2022.
“Any member of the public or their representative, the County Executive, and the head of any department or agency of the county shall be entitled to be heard at the public hearing,” a statement from the council’s office reads.
In December, Psota submitted his proposed CIP to the county council. The five-year planning document, totaling $171 million, includes $19.6 million for the first phase of a new public safety building, $7.4 million for the public library and $35 million for the Wicomico County Board of Education.
“Remember this is a planning document,” Finance Director Pam Oland said at the time. “This helps us plan what we’re putting forward to you during the budget process when you get your budget submission in April.”
Officials said the proposed CIP includes $49 million in general fund requests and $22 million in enterprise fund requests for fiscal year 2022. That includes $16.4 million in school board requests – $4.7 million for the last phase of the Beaver Run Elementary School construction project, $10 million for the first construction phase if the Mardela Middle and High School renovation and addition project, and $1.7 million for the Westside Intermediate School roof replacement project.
Fiscal year 2022 requests also include $19.6 million in funding for the first phase of the new public safety building. Officials, however, noted the five-year planning document did not include funding for the second phase.
The first phase of the project, which would be the construction of a new Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office, includes roughly 58,000 square feet at an estimated cost of nearly $28 million. The second phase, which would be the construction of an emergency services department and 911 call center, includes 20,000 square feet at an estimated cost of roughly $8 million.
Next week’s public hearing on the proposed CIP, set for 6 p.m., is one of many action steps taken each year to adopt the county’s annual budget. Psota is expected to submit an expense budget for fiscal year 2022 in April. The council votes to adopt the budget in June, after a public hearing is held.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.