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Officials hope to boost business for plant

March 11, 1998|By STEVEN T. DENNIS

Officials hope to boost business for plant

Washington County hopes to quadruple business at the debt-ridden Conococheague Industrial Pretreatment Facility next year by bringing in new commercial customers.

Water and Sewer Director Greg Murray told the County Commissioners Tuesday that he expects the plant to generate $400,000 in revenue in the year starting July 1, up from an estimated $100,000 in revenue this year.

Even the higher figure is far short of the more than $1 million annual operating expenses.

If the $400,000 figure is accurate, the county would need to spend $532,000 from the general fund to subsidize the plant next year, down from $832,000 this year, Murray said.

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That subsidy would rise to $700,000 in fiscal year 2000 and $1 million a year starting in 2001, according to projections presented by Murray and county Finance Director Debra Bastian.

Pretreatment marketing coordinator Greg Larsen said the $400,000 figure is "completely realistic."

Larsen said in an interview that his marketing efforts have turned up several prospects for using the plant, including customers who would ship their waste into the county by CSX rail.

Larsen's $56,000 budget also comes from the general fund, he said. That, coupled with the subsidy, brings to $888,000 the amount taken from the general fund for the plant this year.

The plant treats industrial waste and liquid drained from landfills before the waste enters the Conococheague Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The plant, in the 70/81 Industrial Park, has accumulated a roughly $2.3 million deficit since it opened in 1994.

The $9 million plant originally was touted as an economic development tool but has failed to attract companies to the county.

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