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Perryville casino funds headed to Port Deposit, two Cecil fire companies

BY BRYNA ZUMER, Record staff

9:46 AM EDT, July 28, 2011

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Sixteen local organizations could soon benefit from $500,000 in revenue from Hollywood Casino Perryville, and Port Deposit and two fire companies serving the casino appear to be the big winners.

Cecil County and the Town of Perryville are both set to get a percentage of the millions of dollars the casino is expected to continue generating. That is required under the state law that set up slots gambling in the state. Also eligible are nonprofits and other local governments in Cecil County, at the discretion of the county government.

The Cecil Board of County Commissioners is getting ready to announce who will get part of the local community grant award, totaling $500,000.

The grant committee revealed its recommendations for 16 non-profit organizations and municipal agencies at the commissioners' Tuesday work session inElkton.

The recipients were selected from 64 applicants, all of which were required to be west of Route 272, the area of the casino.

The largest beneficiaries would be the Town of Port Deposit, which would get $105,100 toward renovations to Freeman Hall and the King Property, as well as a new computer system for emergency notification service; Perryville and Water Witch fire companies, which would get $114,173 toward two new full-time employees and some equipment; the Susquehanna Workforce Network, which would get $50,000 toward its services; and three local veterans organizations, which would get $47,808 to replace their loss of revenue as a result of the casino.

Other recipients include Nicanor Inc., which would get $25,669 to provide meals and basic necessities to the Port Deposit area; Human Services Development Corporation and Cecil County Pregnancy Center, which would each get $30,000; Chesapeake Health Education Program, which would get $25,000 toward a van to transport homeless veterans; Bayside Community Network, which would get $24,950 toward a passenger bus to transport disabled clients; Haven House, which would get $22,300 toward a gambling addiction prevention program; The Boys and Girls Club of Rising Sun, which would get $15,000 to cover 25 percent of its operating costs; Christmas in April, which would get $5,000 toward construction materials for volunteer home repair projects; and the Holly Tree Corporation, which would get $5,000 to support its annual holiday events.

Vicky Rinkerman, the county's executive office administrator and head of the grant committee, said the recommendations are expected to be finalized by the commissioners' Aug. 16 meeting.

Rinkerman said she was happy with how the process went, considering the county has never done anything like this before.

"All in all, for the first time, it's gone very well. I am sure there will be suggestions and recommendations for tweaking it," she said. "We weren't really sure what we were going to get. Sixty-four [applicants] is a really good number."

Some municipalities and groups who were anxious to get some of the revenue didn't make the cut.

Rinkerman said the town of Rising Sun, for example, had requested $70,000, but did not get any.

Besides the grant recipients, Cecil County and Perryville are both set to get a percentage of casino revenues, although Perryville recently questioned the amount it would be getting.

Perryville town officials have been considering suing the county commissioners in an effort to resolve the dispute over their respective percentages.