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More money may help ice rink to Aug. 2000

July 06, 1999|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

A majority of Hagerstown City Council members informally agreed Tuesday to spend as much as $217,000 above what they have already allocated for the Hagerstown Ice & Sports Complex.

The money would be enough to pay off back debts and offset projected operating losses at the ice rink through Aug. 2000, according to figures from City Finance Director Al Martin.

It was not clear Tuesday whether a majority of council members favored supporting the ice rink through August or whether they would pick an earlier date to cut off the city's financial support for the rink, which would lessen the city's contribution.

Martin said that the amount needed from the city is probably less than $217,000, which is a preliminary estimate. Martin would not say how much lower the actual figure might be.

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The $217,000 would also be used to pay for a full-time executive director for the ice rink who would be paid about $30,000 the first year, said Gary Wright, chairman of the Washington County Sports Foundation, which oversees operations at the rink.

Wright said he took the mayor's and council member's comments on Tuesday to mean that he should go ahead and hire an executive director.

The $217,000 from the city would be in addition to the $114,000 annual subsidy budgeted for the rink and approved by the City Council.

Councilwoman Susan Saum-Wicklein asked to see more detailed and complete financial records before committing to spend additional money at the rink.

Saum-Wicklein seemed to be outnumbered, however.

"We didn't realize how much we should have funded it in the beginning," Councilman Lewis C. Metzner said.

Councilman J. Wallace McClure said he favored providing additional funding for the ice rink at least through December.

At the conclusion of council discussion, Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II said that there were four council members who would vote for additional funding for the ice rink.

City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman said the matter probably will be discussed again during a July 20 council meeting before the council will vote on a final funding plan for the rink.

When that vote might be taken was not discussed Tuesday.

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