Convention bureau asks for $50,000

April 04, 2001

Convention bureau asks for $50,000


The Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau has asked the Washington County Commissioners for an additional $50,000 from hotel-motel tax revenues to help defray costs for two fall events.

The commissioners took no immediate action on the Tuesday request but promised an answer next week.

The events are:

-- A convention of The Society of Forty Men and Eight Horses, the American Legion's honor society, Sept. 8-15.

At least 2,000 people from the organization are expected to attend and to spend as much as $2 million to $3 million during the weeklong event, said bureau Executive Director Ben Hart. The convention could fill 900 rooms, he said.

The bureau expects to spend about $45,000 on the event.

- The American Junior Golf Association National Tournament, Sept. 20-23 at Black Rock Golf Course.

Eighty-four golfers and their families from 15 states and up to 300 spectators from outside the area will be in town for the tournament, Hart said.


If the tournament is a success, he said it could become an annual stop on the national tour.

Hart estimated the bureau will spend $15,000 to $20,000 on the tournament.

Because of last year's increase in the hotel-motel tax, from 3 percent to 6 percent, Washington County expects to receive approximately $300,000 in additional funds for tourism attractions, to enhance economic development or to support cultural and recreational projects.

Several other groups have expressed interest in getting a portion of the county's lodging tax proceeds.

The Convention and Visitors Bureau now receives 45 percent of the proceeds from the lodging tax, County Attorney Richard Douglas said.

Other organizations are watching Washington County to see if it can handle such large events, Hart said.

"I think this is a small cost to get these kind of commitments," Commissioner Paul L. Swartz said.

Commissioner William J. Wivell questioned whether the bureau would be indirectly reimbursed by hotel tax revenues from those staying in town for the two events.

Hart said he did not know how much the bureau would get in hotel revenues from the events.

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