One man’s trash is another man’s treasure – and one company’s hazardous chemicals are a county’s revenue bump.
At the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Thursday, March 21 meeting, the board is expected to approve an increase of $15,000 in the Emergency Services budget with the money coming from an interesting revenue source – a surcharge on all the companies in the county that hold hazardous chemicals.
The Chemical Facility Planning Fee that the county collects will be put to good use. It will go toward enhancing the notification system used to warn the community in case of an emergency. In all, Guilford County takes in about $175,000 a year through this fee.
Guilford County Emergency Management Division Director Don Campbell said those companies that store a lot of hazardous chemicals have to pay the extra fee.
The price a company pays increases with the danger level of the chemicals and the amount of chemicals held.
“Long story short, the county charges companies a planning fee based on the accumulated amount of hazardous materials stored on their site that are regulated by the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency],” Campbell said. “As they report their inventories to us, we classify their fee based on their amounts.”
He said Guilford County has been issuing the fee for a number of years and he added that the revenue the county gets each year stays fairly stable over time.
“Companies come and go, or they change their chemicals on site based on either risk or processes,” he said, “so each budget year we do our best estimate on what we will bill for the upcoming year.”
According to Campbell, about two years ago, there were some minor modifications by the EPA on chemical classifications and some of Guilford County’s bigger customers were required to report additional materials onsite. That brought in a little more money each year to the county.
“We had a bump last year in the same amount, but we were not positive that the companies would report the same amounts last year so we kept our estimates even,” he said.
He said that ultimately the county ended up billing and receiving a little more than $15,000 over the budgeted amount – and that’s where the figure presented at the March 21 commissioners meeting comes from.