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Hotel tax proposal rejected

April 18, 2001

Hotel tax proposal rejected



By SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

The Washington County Commissioners Tuesday decided not to give the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau an additional $50,000 from hotel-motel tax revenues to help defray costs for two fall events.

The commissioners told Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Ben Hart they would reconsider his request should there be surplus hotel-motel tax funds at the end of the fiscal year. The fiscal year ends June 30.

Hart had asked for the money to help fund expenses for two events: A convention of The Society of Forty Men and Eight Horses, the American Legion's honor society, Sept. 8-15; and the American Junior Golf Association National Tournament, Sept. 20-23 at Black Rock Golf Course.

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Hart could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

The Convention and Visitors Bureau receives 45 percent of the proceeds from the lodging tax.

Because of last year's increase in the hotel-motel tax from 3 percent to 6 percent, Washington County expects to receive about $510,000 in additional funds for tourism attractions, to enhance economic development or to support cultural and recreational projects, Budget and Finance Director Debra Bastian said.

It hasn't officially been decided where the extra money will go.

However, a staff proposal suggests the commissioners use the money for fiscal year 2002 be spent as follows:

- 140th re-enactment of the Battle of Antietam, $25,000.

- Improvements around the new District Court building, for which the county owes $324,500. The project involves widening alleyways, improving walkways and tearing down a building.

- Halfway Boulevard Phase I, $160,500. The county wants to extend Halfway Boulevard from Blake Road to Newgate Boulevard. This would be the first of three phases to connect Halfway to Md. 63.

The commissioners took no action.

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