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Director says bureau backs hotel tax funds for EDC

February 22, 2000|By SCOTT BUTKI

The Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau does not object to some proceeds from a hotel-motel tax increase going to the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission, its executive director said Tuesday.

cont. from front page

Ben Hart, bureau executive director, said a story in Tuesday's Morning Herald that reported otherwise was incorrect.

The local delegation to the Maryland General Assembly decided Monday night to delay a vote on a proposal to increase the tax.

In December, the Convention and Visitors Bureau board voted 10-1 to support an increase in the hotel-motel tax to 5 percent from its present 3 percent, with proceeds from 1 percent going for a new stadium, proceeds from 1/2 percent going to the bureau and from 1/2 percent going to the EDC, Hart said.

The Herald incorrectly reported Tuesday that the plan endorsed earlier by the bureau did not call for money to be distributed to the EDC.

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Lawmakers are now proposing doubling the hotel-motel tax to 6 percent to raise money for local tourism projects and to allow the county to put more money toward its $52.3 million water and sewer debt.

Hagerstown officials have said they want to use their share to build a new minor league baseball stadium.

The Convention and Visitors Bureau board supports funding for a new stadium, Hart said.

Hart said Monday that bureau board members wanted the tax proceeds to go to tourism promotion.

"The Board's view of tourism promotion is defined in many ways," Hart said Tuesday, "but it includes economic development activities, marketing and tourism-related development, including the Hagerstown Roundhouse Sports Complex."

"The bureau has not wavered from our original position regarding an increase in the lodging tax," Hart said.

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