Bills to be signed today

April 24, 2000|By LAURA ERNDE

Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening will sign legislation today to increase Washington County's lodging tax and provide for extra water and sewer debt relief.

Glendening will sign into law more than 200 bills during a ceremony this morning in Annapolis.

Among them are six local bills that were passed by the Maryland General Assembly during the 90-day session that ended earlier this month.

Effective July 1, the county's hotel tax will double from 3 percent to 6 percent.

The new money will help cover an extra $500,000 a year to reduce the county's $52 million water and sewer debt.

Another $300,000 a year will go toward tourism projects such as a new minor league baseball stadium.

The law requires that Hagerstown and Washington County governments do a comprehensive study before any of the money can be spent on a stadium


None of the members of the local legislative delegation plan to attend the bill-signing ceremony.

"In my mind, our job is to take care of it before the session ends," said Del. Robert A. McKee, R-Washington.

Glendening has yet to sign nine other local bills, the most significant of which would change the distribution formula for tip jar gambling profits.

Charities now get 60 percent of the distributed proceeds and the Washington County Fire and Rescue Association gets 40 percent. That will change to a 50-50 split.

Glendening is also signing bills that will:

- Allow the Washington County Commissioners to be reimbursed for the cost of job-related travel such as mileage.

- Clarify that MIHI Inc. can use a 1997 state grant of $35,000 to build handicapped accessible fishing piers at Devil's Backbone Park.

- Allow the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts to appoint emeritus members to its board of trustees.

- Give the Washington County Orphans Court the flexibility to set its own hours. The hours now are set by law.

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