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Loans proposed for users of pre-treatment plants

June 01, 1999|By SCOTT BUTKI

The Washington County Commissioners Tuesday created a revolving loan program for select users of the Washington County pre-treatment and wastewater plants.

The commissioners have not voted on where money for the Water and Sewer Economic Development Fund program will come from.

One proposal calls for using $200,000 of a $350,000 general fund subsidy to the pretreatment fund to get the program started.

The county also may be able to get matching funds from the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, Tim Troxell, assistant director of the Economic Development Commission, told the commissioners.

The eligibility criteria, loan interest rate and other details have not been decided. More specific information on those issues will be presented to the commissioners during the next 60 days.

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The commissioners on Tuesday morning were presented with a proposed resolution creating the program but it was specific to major users of the Conococheague Industrial Pretreatment Plant, especially those creating new county jobs.

The commissioners asked County Attorney Richard Douglas to make some changes to that resolution, one of which would include the Conococheague Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The commissioners unanimously adopted the amended resolution Tuesday afternoon during a joint meeting with the Water and Sewer Advisory Commission.

The proposal comes partially in response to suggestions by Mike Lewin, secretary of Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.

At a March 29 meeting, Lewin suggested the County Commissioners establish a new reserve fund to keep down sewer tap-in and usage costs for new high-paying manufacturers. He said county fees were deterring some businesses from moving into the county.

The county is wrestling with more than $50 million in debt incurred by the Washington County Sanitary Commission before it was taken over by the Washington County Commissioners in December 1995.

Among those expenses was the construction of the pretreatment and wastewater plants, which together cost about $27 million.

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