Commissioners waive amusement tax for wine festival

April 10, 2005|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

Carroll County has exempted itself from taxing admissions to the Maryland Wine Festival - a county-sponsored event at the county-owned Carroll County Farm Museum.

The action will have no effect on admission prices to the wine festival, said Dottie Freeman, the farm museum administrator. The tax amounts to 10 percent of the gate and is collected by the state after the event through the county comptroller's office.

In recommending last week that the county commissioners vote to waive the admissions and amusement tax for the event, County Attorney Kimberly A. Millender said the wine festival would be the only event affected.

"We are essentially paying the state, and the state pays us the money back," Millender said of the tax.

Last year, Freeman said, the tax came to $20,822 of the $208,222 admission total for the two-day event, held the third weekend in September.

"Attendance was down last year because of the weather: Storms blew the tents down," Freeman said, and the number of visitors has been affected in the past several years by "flooding, electrical outages and Sept. 11." Attendance averages 20,000 for the weekend, with a range from 19,000 to 25,000, depending upon the weather.

"We're looking for two back-to-back gorgeous days this year," she said of the 2005 wine festival, scheduled Sept. 17 and 18.

Admission this year will be $20 for attendees 21 and older, she said, and for the first time this fall, an admission - $5 - will be charged for ages 7 to 20. The commissioners last month approved this and other changes, including an increase in the general admission to the farm museum from $3 to $5 for adults, and $2 to $3 for senior citizens and children.

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