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Ice rink subsidy continued

August 22, 2000

Ice rink subsidy continued



By DAN KULIN / Staff Writer


The Hagerstown City Council voted 3-1 Tuesday to continue subsidizing the city ice rink.

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The nonprofit Washington County Sports Foundation, which operates the rink, will receive about $144,000 to cover utility bills and rent payments. Of that, $114,600 had been expected to go toward paying off a $1.2 million city bond used to help build the rink. The council vote also deferred a $20,928 supplemental rent payment, and authorized the foundation to use money left over from last year's utility bill subsidy for general rink expenses.

Councilwoman Susan Saum-Wicklein voted against the measure.

"I don't agree with moving part of the utility grant to nonutility operating costs," Saum-Wicklein said.

Foundation officials last week asked the council to shift about $7,4000 of a $39,600 grant to pay for rink utility bills to a general operating grant to cover some unexpected marketing cost overruns.

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Councilman Alfred W. Boyer did not attend the Tuesday meeting.

This latest subsidy is 31 percent less than the city's subsidy for the rink two years ago, which shows the financial picture at the rink is improving, said Austin Abraham, city project coordinator.

Not including the funds approved Tuesday, the rink has cost the city almost $400,000 in subsidies. About $210,000 went to the rink two years ago. The subsidy last year was almost $187,000, according to city documents.

The supplemental rent payments, which were intended to pay off a $225,000 loan from the city, also were deferred in the last two years. Each payment was to be about $21,000.

The requested subsidy is expected to be $126,200 next year, according to city documents.

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