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Golfers picket over rising greens fees

May 30, 2000|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

A dozen people bearing signs protesting fee increases at the city's Municipal Golf Course picketed in front of Hagerstown City Hall for about 40 minutes Tuesday afternoon.

The signs read, "Rate increase out of bounds" and "Golfers shafted again!"

Picket organizer Harry McAbee said the increases to daily and annual golfing fees were "already a done deal," but "this is just our way of showing we're not satisfied with the job they're doing."

McAbee, 76, of Hagerstown, said he was unhappy with the city's elected officials except Councilman J. Wallace McClure, who McAbee said has tried to work with him.

Under the fiscal year 2000-2001 budget, which the City Council unanimously adopted on Tuesday, all daily greens fees at Municipal Golf Course will increase by 50 cents each in July.

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On Jan. 1, year passes for individuals, now $165, will go to $200; and year passes for families, now $275, will go to $330.

McAbee said the fee increases might not seem like a lot, but he said the golf course is bearing the brunt of budget cuts.

"If they want to increase everyone's subsidy that's OK," said McAbee, referring to the approximately $55,000 annual subsidy the golf course receives from the city's general fund.

McAbee said other city funds, such as the parking fund, is not seeing the same level of rate increases. And the City Council is spending $120,000 on architectural and engineering plans for a new baseball stadium while continuing to subsidize the existing stadium, McAbee said.

"We only want what's fair," McAbee said. "And you know they're not going to cut the stadium."

Richard Mowery, 64, of Hagerstown, said he was protesting the rate increase for the annual passes, saying it would make golfing a financial burden for him.

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