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Delegation seeks tax break for county soccer club

February 08, 2002

Delegation seeks tax break for county soccer club



By LAURA ERNDE
laurae@herald-mail.com


Washington County lawmakers are pressing on with a soccer club's tax break despite a concern that it could prompt other nonprofit groups to come forward.

The Washington County Commissioners wrote to local lawmakers this week to tell them they don't support legislation to exempt the Hagerstown Soccer Club from county property taxes.

They are concerned it would set a precedent for other groups to ask for a tax break.

But local lawmakers, saying they believe the precedent has already been set, decided to move forward with the local bill anyway.

"We're not talking about a huge amount of money and we're talking about the youth of Washington County, many of whom have this as their only recreation," said Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington.

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Many nonprofits are exempt from paying property taxes under state law, said Washington County Treasurer Todd L. Hershey.

Nonprofit groups that are not automatically exempt have to get state permission first.

County Ruritan clubs, the Rohrersville Band and the Women's Club in Hagerstown are among the groups that have been granted permission.

Ultimately, it's up to the commissioners to decide whether to grant the tax breaks, Hershey said.

That means that if the soccer club law passes, it would be moot unless the commissioners change their minds about giving the tax break.

Hagerstown Soccer Club owed $1,158 in property taxes last year for the 21-acre complex it owns in Cearfoss, Hershey said.

That's about one mortgage payment on the land, said club President Rudolph Krumpe.

"It would make a big difference," he said.

The 200-player club has hosted tournaments that have brought hundreds of people to Washington County from the four-state region, he said.

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