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Letters to the Editor - Feb. 6

February 06, 2012

County Commissioners must act now to keep Suns


To the editor:

What is wrong with our County Commissioners? Like every form of government these days, they have forgotten that they work for us, not the other way around.

Not too many years ago, we passed a “Hotel Motel Tax” law that was specifically designed to promote tourism here in Washington County. The driving force behind that law when it passed was to create funding to build a new stadium for the Hagerstown Suns. The beauty of this “tax” is that it does not come from Washington County residents and therefore does not cost local taxpayers a single dime. 

Last year alone that tax brought in over $1.6 million from visitors to Washington County. Do I need to ask where that money is going? That tax money is supposed to promote tourism locally, and the Hagerstown Suns (a minor league team for the Washington Nationals) are one of the biggest attractions we have here.

Today, we have the current owners of the Hagerstown Suns asking both the City of Hagerstown and the county to help them pay for a major “Stadium Makeover.” The City of Hagerstown has pledged support; the county has not. Shame on them. 

According to The Herald-Mail, the county feels that there needs to be an economic study. Duh. A 1998 study already showed that the Hagerstown Suns generated almost $3 million a year to our county. Is $3 million spent each and every year in our local economy not enough? Are you willing to lose that?

The County Commissioners need to “step up to the plate” and contribute what was promised all those years ago. They need to commit those “Hotel Motel Tax” funds immediately. 

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I hope it’s not too late. It’s time to do the right thing right now.  If we lose the Hagerstown Suns, the blame falls squarely on our County Commissioners.
 
Paul Sweeney
Hagerstown



Commissioners should perform own economic study


To the editor:

I read recently where the county is considering a study for the Hagerstown Suns’ economic benefits to county businesses. This study would cost taxpayers between $25,000 and $50,000. I believe I have a better idea.

Take five County Commissioners and give them each a list of 20 county businesses (from Weverton to Cascade to Hancock) to interview. That is 100 surveys. Ask each business a few simple questions. Does having the Suns add to your revenue? How much? Do you or your family go to Suns games? How many?

Our commissioners could ask a few pertinent questions in a minute or two and gather a lot of valuable information. Put a hundred of these together from all over the county and there is your economic impact and feasibility study. The answers will jump off the page. Total cost: zero.

It’s time our elected officials stopped playing like high rollers with other people’s money when the economy is closing in on us. I look for inventive ways to save money and stretch a buck every day of my life. Shouldn’t they?
 
Steve Dickey
Dargan

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