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Waste plant finances improve

July 25, 2000

Waste plant finances improve



By SCOTT BUTKI / Staff Writer


The Conococheague Industrial Pre-Treatment Plant had its most successful year during the fiscal year that ended July 1 but it is still losing money, Marketing Director Greg Larsen told the Washington County Commissioners Tuesday.

"We just got through a heck of the year," Larsen said.

The plant brought in revenues of $648,741 for fiscal year 2000, he said. That included $290,242 during the first half of the year and $358,499 in the second half, which shows a revenue growth, he said.

The revenues were a 240 percent increase over the $269,861 the plant brought in during the previous fiscal year, he said.

"That is a heck of a achievement," he said.

"Great job," Commissioner Paul L. Swartz said.

The plant had $850,000 in expenses last year, $350,000 of which were offset by a general fund subsidy, Larsen said.

In order to have revenues that equaled or surpassed the $850,000 in expenses, the plant would have had to bring in at least $70,833 a month, Larsen said.

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The plant passed that mark for the first time in March 2000, when it had a monthly revenue of $80,127, he said. In comparison there was one month in 1997 when the plant's revenues were $2,500, he said.

Due to increased debt service costs the plant's expenses this fiscal year will be about $1.15 million, and it will continue to receive the $350,000 subsidy from the general fund, he said.

As a result of the increased expenses, the monthly revenue level also would need to increase for the plant to break even, he said.

Larsen said he remains confident the plant will have more than $1.15 million in revenues during the present fiscal year.

"The growth is real and it will translate into the revenues we are looking for," Larsen said after the meeting.

The $9 million plant in the Interstate 70/81 Industrial Park near Williamsport off Md. 63, built by the now-defunct Washington County Sanitary District in 1994, treats and dilutes industrial wastes before they enter the sewage treatment plant.

Since it opened, it has received $3.1 million in general fund subsidies, Budget and Finance Director Debra Bastian said. The subsidies are grants that are not expected to be repaid.

The plant revenue increase is due, in part, to a public-private partnership with Spirit Services, Larsen said. Together, they serve more than 50 clients monthly, he said.

The plant had fewer than 10 clients in 1997, he said.

Spirit Services treats and recycles oily waste, Larsen said. Spirit Services has been operating in Washington County since about August 1998 on space leased from the county at the plant.

Larsen said there will also be revenue growth because companies can now deliver pre-treatment waste by rail. The waste is then moved from a railroad track near the plant to the plant itself through a four-inch pipe, Larsen said.

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