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Sharpsburg shapes up future plan

January 15, 2001

Sharpsburg shapes up future plan



By JULIE E. GREENE / Staff Writer


SHARPSBURG - With the Town of Sharpsburg in good financial shape, town officials will look toward planning the future and perhaps putting some money back into residents' pockets this year.

The town has $290,000 in its reserve fund and ended last fiscal year with a $48,101 surplus, said Treasurer Tom McCall.

Sharpsburg town officials have discussed giving town residents a financial break this year, but haven't settled on how to do that yet.

One possibility is giving residents two water and sewer credits this year.

This will be the fifth straight year the town has provided the subsidy, which totals $18,000. The town started the subsidy to help cushion the blow of increasing water and sewer costs in Washington County.

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Residents can expect their annual $60 subsidy earlier than usual this year because Town Council members agreed with Mayor Sid Gale's suggestion to distribute the credit during the winter to help alleviate high heating bills residents are facing.

A property tax cut was discussed, but isn't as likely because the rate is already so low, Gale said. The town's property tax rate is 44 cents per $100 of assessed value.

The council isn't planning any major construction projects this year.

Town officials will focus on long-term planning, revising town election laws and keeping an eye on how the Washington County Commissioners will spend an estimated $350,000 in hotel-motel tax money.

The money was expected by some to go to a new minor league baseball stadium, but that project is on hold. Town officials want the money distributed fairly across the county for tourism, cultural, recreational and economic development projects.

The Town Council may seek some of that funding to help restore the old train station west of town for the Hagerstown Model Railroad Museum Inc.

Museum officials will spend the year trying to get more volunteers on board and raising funds to restore the former Antietam Station, said Jeff Jones, museum president. Members hope to finish painting the building this spring.

The museum is planning two train festivals this year at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center, on Feb. 10 and Nov. 24.

The town also will continue two popular traditions - the Memorial Day parade and the Sharpsburg Heritage Festival.

The May 26 parade will feature Maj. Gen. James F. Fretterd as the grand marshal. Fretterd is the adjutant general and head of the Maryland National Guard.

The Sharpsburg Heritage Festival will be held Sept. 15-16, said Skip Lushbaugh, secretary for the festival committee.

Organizers want to expand the music program and hope to bring back the Sons of Erin, a musical group from Ireland, Lushbaugh said.

An activity for senior citizens may be added on the Friday before the festival, she said.

On Saturday night there will be a barn dance at the Piper Barn at Antietam National Battlefield and a catered turkey dinner at St. Paul's Episcopal Church on West Main Street, Lushbaugh said.

Organizers also are working on establishing a Web site at www.sharpsburgheritagefestival.org, she said.

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