Prince George's County Executive Parris Glendening, in his annual speech on the state of the county's economy, will appeal today to county business leaders for support in improving the county's strapped education and public safety budgets.
Glendening will also predict that the coming year will bring improvements in the county's roads, according to his prepared speech, as well as continued government backing of new economic development projects.
"I believe we need a public dialogue about the overall level of services which our county should have," Glendening's prepared text reads. "I feel very strongly that major improvements in our service delivery capabilities are needed in all areas, but especially in those most crucial to our residents -- education and public safety.
"I want to find out to what extent there is a consensus among our citizens that improvements are needed. If we agree that they are, then we must decide how we can pay for them."
County services, Glendening maintains in the speech, are closely related to the county's ability to attract new business. Decreased fire response times and large class sizes are "costly to the county in lost productivity, lost opportunities for citizens and decreased security."
Glendening's address offers no new proposals and few specific plans for the county. Although it was released yesterday, the speech is scheduled for delivery today to the Chamber of Commerce, which has expressed concerns recently about Glendening's proposal to raise money by seeking new taxing authority from the state.
Because county officials have said that they are reluctant to impose new residential taxes, legislators have speculated on the option of levying new commercial taxes, a move that the chamber and local lawmakers have been reluctant to embrace.
Del. Timothy Maloney (D-Prince George's) said that even if the chamber could be persuaded to back Glendening's state taxing authority initiatives, legislators might still not be eager to back him.
"Over the years the need for dollars has been a little more compelling than it is now," Maloney said. "And it has been hard [to approve taxing plans] even when the needs have been compelling."
Glendening applauds several improvements in the county's transportation network, taking note of plans to break ground for the Metro Green Line extension and state plans to improve several Capital Beltway interchanges.
He also said that at the urging of the chamber, he is committed to increasing county funding for economic development, but he did not elaborate on where these funds would come from.
He said that the county authorized the allocation of almost $216 million in tax-exempt bonds last year to finance projects ranging from office complexes to hotels and home mortgages. Such tools, he said, will also be used in the coming year if the federal government abandons efforts to strip the tax-exempt financing programs, which Reagan administration officials have complained contribute to the federal deficit.
Prince George's, Glendening said, has also become a key player in the regional office-space market, with nearly 1.6 million square feet of new office space occupied in 1984.
He also cited real estate statistics that predict 1 million square feet of new office space will be constructed in the county this year.
"Our own estimates from the Economic Development Corporation's projections suggest a figure twice that," he said, citing an office space glut in surrounding jurisdictions.