Frederick County may free up funds for capital needs

Posted: October 17, 2013

The Winchester Star

WINCHESTER — Replacement vehicles for Frederick County Fire and Rescue and the Sheriff’s Office could soon be funded.

The Frederick County Finance Committee voted 5-1 Wednesday morning to recommend approval of using $1,526,665.79 to provide for capital needs for the two departments, as well as Parks and Recreation and the school division.

To fulfill the groups’ capital requests, $725,783 would come from the county’s fund balance and $800,882.79 from an unobligated surplus in the school operating fund, according to information presented to the committee.

Included in the general fund capital requests for county projects are:

Protective uniform equipment for Fire and Rescue ($72,918).

A replacement Ford F-250 for the Fire Marshal’s Office ($33,000).

A replacement Chevy Tahoe SUV for command personnel in Fire and Rescue ($29,500).

Thirteen marked replacement cars for the Sheriff’s Office ($328,263 total, $25,251 each).

Three unmarked replacement cars ($76,353 total, or $25,451 each).

Forty replacement computer work stations for Parks and Recreation ($48,350).

Fire and Rescue Chief Dennis Linaburg and Sheriff Robert T. Williamson said during the meeting that their departments need replacement vehicles due to the wear and tear on the current equipment.

Karen Vacchio, Parks and Recreation public information officer, said Wednesday afternoon that the computer work stations would replace existing equipment at several facilities and would be for staff use only.

Frederick County Public Schools wants to use its $800,882.79 surplus for the purchase of replacement school buses, energy conservation and capital maintenance projects and technology replacements, according to information presented to the Finance Committee.

Steve Edwards, coordinator of policy and communications for Frederick County Public Schools, said in an email Wednesday that specific projects for the school system haven’t been determined.

Finance Committee member and Back Creek Supervisor Gary Lofton voted against the funding request. He said after the meeting that a lack of specifics played a part in his vote.

“Also, I’d like to address these things up front,” he said. “I realize it’s great that we have money left over at the end of the year, but I don’t want [spending it] to become the norm ... I don’t want to set a precedent that every year we’re going to be spending the money that we have left over.”

The Board of Supervisors will consider the funding requests at their Nov. 13 meeting.

Attending the meeting in the Frederick County Administration Building were Chairman Charles S. DeHaven Jr. and members Richard C. Shickle, Gary A. Lofton, Ronald E. Hottle, Judy McCann Slaughter and Angela L. Rudolph.

— Contact Matt Armstrong at marmstrong@winchesterstar.com