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Hearing set to explain debt, stadium plan

February 08, 2000|By LAURA ERNDE

ANNAPOLIS - The public will have a chance to learn about and critique a plan by local lawmakers to relieve Washington County's water and sewer debt and provide money for a new minor league stadium.

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A hearing is set for 10 a.m. Saturday in South Hagerstown High School's auditorium, said Delegation Chairman Del. Robert A. McKee, R-Washington.

McKee said he called the meeting because he believes some people don't understand the intricate plan.

"It's complex and it's confusing. I feel we have an obligation to explain," he said.

McKee also wants to give citizens a chance to comment without having to travel to Annapolis.

The delegation won't vote on the plan until next Wednesday, he said.

Meanwhile, the delegation is to meet with Hagerstown officials this morning about the proposed Hagerstown Roundhouse and Sports Complex.

Under the delegation's plan, Hagerstown would get an estimated $283,353 for the stadium complex or another economic development or tourism project. The county's eight other municipalities would get a proportionate share, based on population.

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The money would be raised by doubling the hotel-motel tax from 3 percent to 6 percent.

Part of the tax increase would also be used to help the county chip away at its $52.3 million water and sewer debt.

Another part of the plan calls for a change in the funding formula for the Washington County Gaming Commission, which distributes tip jar gambling profits.

Ten percent of the money available for charities would be shifted to the Washington County Fire and Rescue Association, freeing up more money for the county to use for debt reduction.

Other members of the delegation said they would try to attend the impromptu meeting.

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