Washington County commissioner says Federal donation might have come from wrong account

August 18, 2008|By JOSHUA BOWMAN

WASHINGTON COUNTY - A Washington County Commissioner said Thursday he was unsure whether a $10,000 check from the county to a local Little League team is being written from the proper account.

Commissioner Kristin B. Aleshire said the money, which the county commissioners voted to draw from the hotel-motel tax fund, might have to come from another fund instead.

"It's my understanding that hotel-motel might not be proper, based on state limitations," Aleshire said.

The money was approved by a 3-1 vote to help pay travel expenses for the Federal Little League 11-12 All Stars, who recently won the Mid-Atlantic Regional tournament and played their first game in the Little League World Series on Saturday.

Commissioners President John F. Barr, Vice President Terry L. Baker and Commissioner James F. Kercheval voted to approve the funding.

Commissioner William J. Wivell voted against it, and Aleshire was out of the room for the vote.


The Annotated Code of Maryland states that hotel-motel tax revenues can be used to "develop tourism attractions, enhance economic development, and support cultural and recreational projects in Washington County."

In a letter to the editor in today's Herald-Mail, Aleshire says that "it appears the vote must be recast" and that the money might have to come out of the commissioners' contingency fund instead.

For that to happen, a commissioner would have to make a motion to amend the funding approval, Washington County Attorney John M. Martirano said Thursday.

Any commissioner can make that motion, which would only change the fund from which the money is drawn, Martirano said.

If the commissioners want to vote again on whether to give the money to Federal Little League, a commissioner who voted to approve the funding would have to make a motion to reconsider that vote, Martirano said.

Martirano said Thursday that he has discussed the matter with County Administrator Gregory B. Murray but that he does not know if any action will be taken when the commissioners meet Tuesday.

Murray could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Aleshire said he does not have a problem with the gift but said the confusion that has arisen since it was approved could have been avoided if the county established a consistent funding policy.

"If it had been a formal item on the agenda, this wouldn't be a problem," Aleshire said.

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