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Committee comes up with money to cover Canal Days expenses

September 14, 2005|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

andrews@herald-mail.com

WILLIAMSPORT - The C&O Canal Days committee on Monday paid the town $1,250 to cover expenses for this year's event, and the town is refunding about half.

Last month, Councilman Jeff Cline's insistence that the committee stop getting free town labor sparked a pointed argument at a council meeting.

Cline proposed that the committee pay the town $2,500, but his motion was defeated 3-2.

Later, Mayor James G. McCleaf II altered the idea so that the committee would pay the town half of its proceeds this year, up to $1,250. The council approved the suggestion 5-0.

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At Monday's council meeting, Elissa Slayman, the committee's chairwoman, dropped a check for $1,250 next to McCleaf.

She said contributions were down this year because people protested the town's new policy and refused to give money.

After the meeting, McCleaf said Assistant Mayor Monty R. Jones has pledged $500 of his town stipend to the C&O Canal Days committee.

"I want to make sure it thrives," Jones said, confirming the donation.

Also, Cline donated $100 to the town on the committee's behalf.

McCleaf said he'll forward the $600 in contributions - which did not come up during the meeting - to the committee.

"I've always donated all of my salary back, one way or another," Jones said after the meeting.

The assistant mayor is paid $3,100 a year in Williamsport.

Cline said volunteer help at this year's C&O Canal Days helped lower the cleanup cost. For example, Cline and McCleaf each spent about 10 hours there, as they pledged. McCleaf said Chris Grimes, the town's park coordinator, donated four hours.

Slayman and other committee members protested last month when Cline proposed the fee.

Slayman questioned why a carnival pays less to use Byron Memorial Park for six days than C&O Canal Days would for two days. She walked out of last month's meeting.

Jones said it was unfair to impose the fee so soon before the event.

Cline defended his idea then, saying the town should stop providing about 100 hours of labor, plus water and electricity, at no charge.

On Monday, Slayman showed the council a financial statement for this year's C&O Canal Days.

The statement shows that the committee started with $5,243 and finished with $985.

Factored in are $3,000 the committee gave the Williamsport Volunteer Fire Co., $1,000 that went to Deafnet and $250 for the Washington County Sheriff's Department, plus the $1,250 fee for the town.

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