City Council awards $48,000 in hospitality funds to groups

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By Jesef Williams

Lancaster Dixie Baseball Inc. will receive the most money of any entity that applied for the city of Lancaster's hospitality tax grant funds.

The city has awarded the local baseball group $13,400, a slice of about $48,000 to be allocated to six other groups for 2008-09.

Andrew Jackson State Park could have gotten money for eight different projects through the grant, but Lancaster City Council decided against one of those items – a $2,000 septic system.

Council's vote Tuesday was 5-0. Councilman Danny O'Brien was absent from the meeting.

This year's grant money will support the park's Hanging Rock and Buford's Defeat traveling exhibits, its concert series, improvements to the Waxhaw Trail, a promotional display and its annual events brochure.

Councilman John Howard said he voted against the septic system because he believes the state should pay for it, since the park is state-owned.

"It wasn't the money," Howard said. "It was the principle of the thing. The state should be responsible for the main infrastructure."

Other groups that received hospitality grant money were:

u Van Wyck Community Development Club, $5,000

u The Community Playhouse of Lancaster County, $3,350

u Education Foundation at the University of South Carolina at Lancaster, $7,000

u Friends of Lancaster High School Baseball, $7,945

u Learning Institute for Tomorrow (LIFT), $5,470

The Hospitality Tax Grant Advisory Committee received 20 applications for funding. The agencies that were selected didn't necessarily receive the amounts they requested, according to a letter from Teresa Meeks, the city's support services director.

New truck OK'd

Ronnie Cairnes, Lancaster's Building and Grounds Department supervisor, will get a new truck that he will use when responding to electrical problems involving lift stations.

His current vehicle, a 1998 pickup, has more than 117,000 miles on it. The new truck, which is budgeted at $25,000, will most likely be a four-wheel drive.

Council voted 5-0 to put the money for the vehicle back in the 2008-09 operating budget. The item had been eliminated after a suggestion by the finance committee.

City Administrator Helen Sowell said the city tries to follow a criteria that calls for a department vehicle to be replaced after 10 years or 100,000 miles.

Contact reporter Jesef Williams at jwilliams@thelancasternews.com or at (803) 283-1152