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Water/Sewer debt game continues

February 17, 2000

Hello, and welcome to the daytime edition of "Let's Make You Squeal," the zany show where Washington County's elected brain trust competes for cash and prizes as they try to simultaneously build a stadium, pay down the sewer debt, fund small-town adventure travel, pay for fire trucks, build economic development bureaucracy, develop multinational theme parks, construct a Hagerstown-to-Funkstown monorail and cure cancer, all by asking charities and hotel owners for their spare change.

Hi, my name is Monty Councilman, and our first contestant today is County Commissioner Paul Swartz. What are we dressed as today, Paul, could that be Hagerstown Suns' mascot Jay Jay? Very good, well I'll tell you what, I will give you $283,000 a year if you can just root around in that Hagerstown Suns duffle bag and show me a 1 penny sales tax increase.

Excellent, you have the sales tax increase which means you keep the cash. Now, Paul, I want you to think very hard. Do you want to keep the penny sales tax increase and the $283,000, or do you want to buy whatever it is Del. Chris Shank, who incidentally is modeling a beautiful mink stole from Dicker and Dicker of Beverly Hills, has in this box he's bringing down the aisle?

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Chris, set that box right over there and Paul? Yes? You'll take the box? OK, Chris, take the top off the box and - oh, Paul, I'm sorry, it's an overpriced hotel room. Better luck next time.

But we'll take the $283,000 and offer it to our next contestant, Commissioner Bill Wivell. Now, Bill, do you want to keep the $283,000, or do you want what's behind the curtain that the dashing Sen. Don Munson, who is wearing this fine gold and diamond brooch by Sarah Coventry, is pointing to up on stage?

You'll take the curtain? Very good, let's see what you've won - oh, my goodness, it's a brand new Clear Spring tourism department.

That's a mighty fine prize there Mr. Wivell, but I'll tell you what I'm going to do. You can take the tourism department and the $283,000 and go home; they're yours to keep.

Or, do you want to take a chance on an act of the legislature by selecting Law Number One, Law Number Two or Law Number Three? And I must tell you, Commissioner, behind one of those pieces of legislation you will find the grand prize of Sewer Debt Reduction!

You choose Law Number Two? Let's pull back the curtain and - oh, I'm sorry, it's a bill introduced by Sen. Alex Mooney calling for all gays to be placed in a large rocketship and shot to the planet Saturn. Better luck next time, Commissioner.

And who would our next contestant be? Why, say hello to the mayor of a small town in Western Maryland, The Hon. Bob Bruchey.

Well as you've seen, Bob, no one has even won the $283,000 yet, but you'll have a chance to go home with much more than that. In fact, you will be playing for a new baseball stadium! It's a model year 2003 stadium, including full halogen spotlights, with three bases and one plate full of power from Speigel, Chicago 60609.

Now, Bob, you can choose one of the two doors and trade what's behind that door for a 10 percent drop in charitable giving, switch the tourism funding under box number one for firefighting funding under box number two, or trade the sewer debt reduction in box number one and the stadium funding increase behind door number three for the room tax increase behind curtain number one and $283,000.

Or, you can keep the $283,000 and - Bob? Bob! Come back, please. It's simple, really; please come back.

Ah, well, looks like we'll have to wait another year to finish the game.




Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist

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