Cumberland Times-News

Local News

March 2, 2014

Frostburg divvying up hotel/motel tax

City officials deciding who gets piece of $91,000 available this year

CUMBERLAND — With the Feb. 28 deadline passing, Frostburg’s mayor and City Council are now reviewing requests from charitable organizations that have applied for a portion of the $91,000 in fiscal 2015 hotel/motel tax revenue the city is making available.

Frostburg receives $150,000 annually in revenue collected through the hotel/motel tax. In fiscal 2014, 18 organizations were approved to receive a portion of the $91,000 made available.

“They (nonprofits) can make an in-person presentation or they can submit a paperwork request,” said John Kirby, city administrator.

Those nonprofits who have made their request for fiscal 2015 by appearing before the council were:

• Frostburg First Main Street Program, $50,000

• Maryland Mountain Trails, $10,000

• Palace Theatre, $6,000

• Frostburg Museum, $6,000

• Preston Memorial, $5,000

• Garden Club, $1,500

• Holiday Lamp Post Committee, $1,500

• Children’s Literature Center/Storybook Holiday, $1,000

Kirby said that others, including the Allegany Arts Council, Frostburg Elks Derby Day and the Appalachian Festival have sent in written requests.

Final decisions on the allocations of the hotel/motel tax will be made as part of the council’s fiscal 2015 budget deliberations.

“We hope to have a full review of the requests when our first draft budget is submitted in mid-March,” said Kirby.

In other council news, the Frostburg Museum, currently located in the old three-level Hill Street School building at 69 Hill St., is looking to find a more feasible location for the museum with the help of the mayor and council.

The museum has no elevators and handicapped access as well as other challenges.

“They have asked for the city’s assistance,” said Elizabeth Stahlman, director of community development.

Although the city cannot secure a building for the museum, it has offered to help with a study for a potential location.

“They want to find a location they can afford and maintain,” said Stahlman.

The city is making $3,500 in community development funds available for a study to be done of any potential building museum officials may select. Once a location is selected, the study would provide an analysis of the site’s feasibility as a museum.

The mayor and council have also approved an expenditure of $48,943 for a new emergency fuel storage system at Piney Dam.

“The current tank is underground. The Maryland Department of the Environment wants the tank above ground,” said Kirby.

The storage tank holds diesel fuel that is automatically tapped during emergencies to run a generator that powers a pump. The pump would be used to keep the city’s water supply flowing during power outages.

“If the electric goes out during a storm or ice, we can still supply the city with water,” said Kirby.

Kirby said the above ground tank has been ordered and they hope it can be installed by May.

The Lashley Construction Co. was also awarded $868,401 for a base bid and $328,560 for an add-alternate bid for the phase 7B-2 of the city’s ongoing combined sewer overflow abatement project.

Frostburg is separating the sewer and storm lines throughout the city. The CSO project has been ordered by the state, which wants the project completed by 2020. Like other municipalities, the sewer and storm lines were built as a combined system before the environmental hazards of a combined system were fully understood.

“The next phase of our CSO project will be from Bowery Street down Paul Street and across the old railroad bed to the bottom of Grant Street,” said Kirby.

 The council also reappointed Sean White to serve another two-year term on the Frostburg Recreation Commission.

Greg Larry can be contacted at glarry@times-news.com

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