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Spirit service to get $200,000 in loans

July 16, 1999|By SCOTT BUTKI

The Washington County Commissioners are giving the biggest client of its pretreatment plant $200,000 in loans, Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said Thursday.

Spirit Services Inc. was given a $75,000 loan via a new revolving loan fund and will be given an additional $125,000 within 45 days, Snook said. There is 4 percent interest on the five-year loans.

The grant will increase the likelihood that the Conococheague Industrial Pre-Treatment Plant will break even for the next fiscal year, Snook said.

The $9 million plant, built by the now-defunct Washington County Sanitary District in 1994, has yet to make a profit.

Spirit Services has been operating in Washington County since about August 1998 on space leased from the county at the plant.

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The loan will allow the company to expand, which will result in more revenue for both the company and the county, said Spirit Services President Rich Ellman.

Spirit Services turns waste oil into energy sources, including electrical energy and fuel, said Greg Larsen, who does marketing for the plant. The company's work allows the county to treat oily waste, he said.

"This is the best client we have ever had at the plant," Snook said.

From August 1998 to June 1999, Spirit Services work has resulted in $85,887 in revenue for the county, Larsen said.

The expansion is expected to mean more than $250,000 in revenue in fiscal year 2000, more than the $200,000 in loans, Larsen said.

The $75,000 loan will be used to purchase more tanks to store the oily wastes, County Attorney Richard Douglas said. The $125,000 loan will buy additional equipment which will make the process more efficient, Douglas said.

The revolving loan fund program was created June 1 and the commissioners approved the loans to Spirit on June 8 in a closed session.

The program is intended to spur economic development growth in companies with heavy use of county plants. Initially there is only $200,000 in the program.

The money had to be moved through the Washington County Industrial Foundation, Inc., better known as CHIEF, because the county does not have the authority to grant loans to all companies, Douglas said.

The County Commissioners are using $150,000 from a $350,000 general fund subsidy to lay 4-inch pipes from a railroad track near the plant to the plant itself. The rest of the money will go toward operations, he said.

Construction on the pipes will begin by the end of the month, Larsen said.

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