Elaine Blaisdell Cumberland Times-News
OAKLAND — Garrett County’s Adventure Sports Center International will break even for the year, according to Scott Weeks, county assistant director of financial services, and the county was able to save some money.
As of Dec. 31, Weeks is projecting a revenue of about $772,000 and expenses of $745,000 with a net income of roughly $28,000. For 2011, ASCI was at a net loss of about $151,000 — revenue was about $784,000 and expenses were $935,000.
The county was able to see the increase in net income because of reductions, according to Weeks.
“We had a decrease in our salary and fringes of $105,000,” said Weeks during the county commission meeting Tuesday. “We reduced some of the staffing there. We have been able to stabilize the operations and see a positive cash flow in the organization.”
The utilities cost for ASCI decreased by $40,000, of which $25,000 was for electric. Legal and professionals services as well as repair and maintenance were decreased by $19,000, according to Weeks.
The county agreed to purchase ASCI’s debt for $600,000 in March; the debt was $3.2 million and had about $180,00 in accrued interest, according to Weeks. All of ASCI’s payables flow through the county and they operate under the county’s internal control structure now, said Weeks.
“We got all that for $600,000,” said Weeks. “Before we purchased their debt, they were ready to come back to us and say, ‘We need $50,000.’ As of today, ASCI will owe the taxpayers $692,000.”
The commissioners agreed to pay $100,000 toward the ASCI debt with the money garnered from an increase in the hotel tax rate. At a meeting in May, commissioners voted to increase the hotel tax rate from 5 percent to 6 percent effective July 1. That increase generated roughly $300,000, according to Weeks.
“We are making progress on getting paid back,” said Weeks. “We have positive cash flow.”
An accounting change had to be made because ASCI was on a calendar year and the county operates on a fiscal year from July through June 30.
“So we made an accounting change and switched them (ASCI) over to a June 30 fiscal year,” said Weeks. “When I give a comparison, I have a June 30 audited figure that auditors are finalizing this week. The last thing I have for ASCI is December 31, 2011, audited financials. What I’m doing today, I took January and am projecting out where we are going to finish in December.”
In 2009, ASCI requested a $300,000 line of credit from the commissioners because it was unable to make cash flow, according to Weeks.
“They took out $50,000 in June of 2009,” said Weeks. “Then in February 26, 2010, they took out another $100,000. It was an interest-free loan and they were paying it back over a 10-year period.”
ASCI did make a $50,000 payment back to the county and in January 2012 asked the commissioners for another $50,000.
This year, ASCI served 10,436 rafters and last year served 10,431, according to Michael Logsdon, acting director of ASCI. ASCI employed 93 people in 2012, most of whom were guide staff comprised of high school and college students.
Since 2007, ASCI has employed 600 seasonal employees and served more than 66,7000 guests.
“Staffing is a concern because that’s a big expense item,” said Logsdon. “We have been really trying to make sure that we are staffed properly and not overly staffed or underly staffed.”
Total payroll was $300,000 for calendar year 2012, according to Weeks.
ASCI and Garrett College staff are working to formulate a three-year strategic plan from 2013 to 2015. The plan will address critical areas such as education, ASCI facilities, business growth, strategic alliances, community service, business sustainability and conservation of resources, according to Logsdon.
“We have to enhance what we do up here; it’s sort of been a one-trick pony,” said Logsdon, who noted that plans include hydrodynamic learning stations and a giant swing.
People are mostly coming into the area for other reasons, according to Logsdon.
“They probably didn’t come here just to take a two-hour rafting trip,” said Logsdon. “We are trying to figure out where they are coming from and we want to diversify the product line so they have something to do at ASCI besides ride the raft.”
Contact Elaine Blaisdell at email@example.com.