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Aleshire objects to tax pitch

December 20, 2001

Aleshire objects to tax pitch



By DAN KULIN
dank@herald-mail.com


The Hagerstown City Council is making a pitch for about $270,000 of Washington County's hotel-motel tax money over the objections of Councilman Kristin B. Aleshire.

A new water slide, money for festivals and $200,000 to help further a downtown arts center are among the requests the council will send to the Board of County Commissioners.

Also, the council decided to state in the letter asking for the money that the city's first priority for hotel-motel tax money is a stadium project.

The council voted 4-1 Tuesday to approve the requests.

Aleshire said he opposed the action because he opposes taxpayer funding for a new baseball stadium.

Aleshire said he thought the hotel-motel tax money should be used for items that directly affect the hotels and motels, and not for items such as a new water slide for the city's public pool.

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Washington County has committed this fiscal year's estimated $500,000 in hotel taxes for tourism attractions, to enhance economic development or to support cultural and recreational projects. The fiscal year began July 1.

County Director of Planning and Economic Development Robert Arch said he does not know how much tax money will be available next year.

The deadline to apply for next year's hotel-motel tax funds is Friday.

The money is available because in 1999, the Maryland General Assembly approved legislation to raise the county's hotel tax from 3 percent to 6 percent.

Forty-five percent of money generated by the tax increase goes to the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau. The rest goes to the commissioners, with some of it earmarked for debt reduction.

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