This coming Friday, the Washington County United Way will close the books on its 1996 annual campaign. So far the campaign has collected $1,318,858, about $200,000 short of the $1.5 million raised last year and $500,000 short of this year's $1.8 million goal. We hope that those who haven't contributed yet will find a reason to do so.
If $200,000 comes in by Friday, United Way's agencies will be funded at last year's levels. They'll scrape by if the campaign raises as much as it did in 1995.
And if the $200,000 doesn't come in? Then volunteers will go back and rewrite the budget, looking at each agency's numbers to see what can be trimmed without major damage to the programs or the people being served.
But what if $500,000 is pledged by Friday, and the $1.8 million goal is met? It's not impossible; last July Maryland announced that state lottery players here were spending $45,000 per day. That's $16 million a year, and doesn't include the $7-million-plus the county gaming commission estimates is spent on tip jar play annually.