County Comment/Washington County Gaming Commission Announces Record Distribution
by Norman Bassett
Washington County Public Information Officer
The Washington County Gaming Commission announced a record distribution to the county’s fire and rescue companies as well as 101 local charitable organizations on August 10th.
The Gaming Fund total of $2,832,143.66 for fiscal year 2004, which ended June 30th, represents an almost 5% increase over last year and the largest amount since the fund’s inception nine years ago. State law provides for funds to be split equally between The Washington County Fire and Rescue Association and local charities.
In January, the Washington County Fire & Rescue Association received $630,817.67. With today’s announcement, an additional $785,254.16 will be distributed bringing the yearly total for Fire & Rescue to $1,416,071.83.
The Association then distributes the funds equally to the fire & rescue companies throughout the county.
In May, the Washington County Gaming Commission received 127 separate applications from charitable organizations requesting a total of $3,351,859.24.
“Obviously with more than $2 of requests for every $1 of available funds, some tough decisions had to be made,” said Terry Reiber, Gaming Commission Chairman. “After three days of workshops in June, three days of public hearings in July, and a lot of homework, the Commission was able to either partially or fully fund 101 of the 127 requests. Twenty-four of the 127 applications received full funding and 13 received grants of $30,000 or more,” said Reiber.
Among those receiving $30,000 or more where the American Red Cross, CASA, Girls Inc., Boy Scouts, Reach, Regional Community Health Care Center, Washington County Agricultural Education Center, Food Resources, Salvation Army, and Senior Living Alternatives.
The Regional Community Health Center is better known as the Community Free Clinic, and received the largest amount, $165,000, of which $50,000 will be used for capital projects. Reach Caregivers received $75,000 for shelter operations, the Mental Health Center received $40,000 as did Senior Living Alternatives and the American Red Cross. Girls, Inc. was just under that level, at $39,846.81. The Washington County Agricultural Education Center was also among the top recipients, at $38,000.
The Washington County Gaming Commission is a volunteer seven-member board appointed by the County Delegation to the Maryland General Assembly and Board of County Commissioners. Established by the State Legislature in 1995, the Commission is responsible to ensure the revenue produced by Tip Jars played in the county’s clubs, taverns, liquor stores, and restaurants is equitably distributed. Since its beginning, the Commission has provided almost $25 million dollars to charities and fire and rescue companies in Washington County.
A complete listing of the donations is on the County web page at www.washco-md.net.