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Commission's tip jar proceeds way up

August 05, 1997

By STEVEN T. DENNIS

Staff Writer

Tip jar proceeds received by the Washington County Gaming Commission are skyrocketing, and the commission is at a loss to explain why.

The money raised from a tax on tip jar revenues rose 55 percent to $1.07 million from Jan. 1 through June 30 from the previous six-month period.

Gaming Commission Director Kathy Sterling said she didn't know why the increase was so large, other than the possibility that gambling may be cyclical.

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The commission had projected then that the commission receipts would be $1.3 million in fiscal 1997, $1.75 million in fiscal 1998 and $2.15 million in fiscal 1999 because of changes made to the gambling law that taxes private clubs' tip jar revenues at progressively higher rates.

Fiscal 1997 ended June 30, and the $1.77 million total collected was $470,000, or 35 percent, higher than what was projected halfway through the year.

Gaming Commission Chairwoman Sue Tuckwell said nonprofits shouldn't expect the gravy train to continue forever. There are no guarantees that the state will continue to allow the commission to operate, she said.

Of the $1.07 million awarded Monday, local fire and rescue companies received 40 percent, or $429,290.69, charities received $624,617.96, and the United Way received $19,318.

Hagerstown Junior College received the largest grant at $42,552 for a new day-care center.

The YMCA of Hagerstown was second with $34,700 to pay off a computer lease.

The Washington County Free Library was awarded $30,000 to move the Hancock War Memorial Library building out of the flood plain. The operations of the library are being housed in the town's community center safe from the elements while the town has searched for funding to move the building.

Other winners include CASA Inc., which received $31,500 for building improvements and Community Free Clinic, which received $25,956 for medical supplies and to expand the hours.

Food Resources Inc. received $30,000 for a new van to haul food, the Washington County Community Action Council received $27,283 to pay building operational costs, and the Washington County Commission on Aging Inc. received $27,058 for ramps and transportation for seniors.

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