Cecil commissioners ask for legal opinion on proposed casino grant to pregnancy center

Cecil County's Board of County Commissioners gave its tentative approval Tuesday to distribute $500,000 in Hollywood Casino revenue to the 16 non-profit groups and municipal agencies recommended by the grant committee.

Vicky Rinkerman, the county's executive office administrator, said Thursday the only concern raised by commissioners was whether it was appropriate for the county to award $30,000 to the Cecil County Pregnancy Center because it is a faith-based organization.

Rinkerman said commissioners asked for legal advice on that question.

The Elkton-based Pregnancy Center says on its Facebook page that it offers "life-affirming alternatives to abortion" and is "a nonprofit, Christian organization committed to upholding the sanctity of human life by demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ to pregnant women and to families with young children."

In other words, the center is opposed to abortion and counsels clients against it.

Rinkerman expects the commissioners to take a final vote on the recommendations, including the grant for the pregnancy center, at their Aug. 16 meeting.

The main 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 & 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.

Copyright © 2018, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad