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Signed bills give local grants

May 10, 2000|By LAURA ERNDE

ANNAPOLIS - Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening will sign bills today that will change Washington County tip jar gambling regulations and provide $525,000 worth of state grants to local community projects.

The largest grant, $250,000, will go to the Hagerstown YMCA for its new center on Eastern Boulevard.

The four other grants are:

- $75,000 for building improvements at Children's Village on Mount Aetna Road.

- $75,000 to improve the Washington County Agricultural Education Center's facilities on Sharpsburg Pike.

- $75,000 to help the City of Hagerstown build pavilions at Hagerstown Fairgrounds.

- $50,000 for the Hagerstown Police Athletic League to build an outdoor sports facility at the fairgrounds.

The new tip jar law gives half of the game's profits to the Washington County Fire and Rescue Association. The association now gets 40 percent. The other half will be distributed to charities by the Washington County Gaming Commission.

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The commissioners will be able to reduce the county contribution to the Fire and Rescue Association by an amount comparable to the increased amount the organization will received from gambling proceeds.

That change will free up about $250,000 a year for the Washington County Commissioners to use to reducing its $52 million water and sewer debt.

Another $250,000 for debt reduction will come from an increase in the county's lodging tax from 3 percent to 6 percent. Glendening signed that bill earlier last month.

The increase will also provide money for a new minor league baseball stadium.

Others among the bills Glendening will sign today will:

- Change the 1998 farm runoff law to help dairy farmers with the costs of hauling away manure and remove a religious exemption intended for Mennonites.

- Subsidize regional airline flights, boosting the Hagerstown Regional Airport's chances of restoring commuter service to Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

- Allow the Washington County Commissioners to give a $900 tax credit to the Rohrersville Band.

- Provide a health clinic on wheels, also known as a Wellmobile, for Western Maryland.

- Create a special license plate to honor agriculture. Proceeds will be used to teach young people statewide about the importance of agriculture.

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