TRAC chief seeks $150,000 budget adjustment

By Michelle Dupler, Tri-City HeraldDecember 20, 2012 

TRAC is seeing a little less red in its ledger this year, to the delight of Franklin County officials who subsidize part of the Pasco event center's losses.

"Keep going in that direction," Commissioner Brad Peck told TRAC Manager Troy Woody at a meeting Wednesday.

Woody came to the meeting to ask for a $150,000 budget adjustment for the county-owned facility.

He explained to commissioners that the adjustment was needed to account for TRAC earning more revenue and incurring more expenses than were anticipated when the 2012 budget was adopted.

"What you're in essence saying is you're asking for an increase in authority to spend, but that's because of increased business -- the authority you have doesn't allow you to do that volume of business," Peck said.

Woody said the center should bring in about $2.3 million this year -- the most revenue TRAC has earned since it opened in 1995.

Extra activity at the event center this year has led to about a $50,000 to $75,000 reduction in anticipated losses, dropping projected losses from $400,000 to $325,000 or $350,000, which is the lowest amount as a percentage of revenue in TRAC's history, he said.

Final numbers won't be known until the last of the year's bills arrive in January, Woody said.

"A $50,000 improvement in those numbers is 12 and a half percent," Peck said. "That is outstanding."

The center has been losing about $400,000 per year in recent years. The losses are split between the county and Pasco, where the center is located.

City and county officials had expected that Pasco no longer would be sharing the burden as of 2014, when construction bonds for the center expire, but a re-reading of the agreement between the two governments in September revealed that the city likely will have to continue contributing toward TRAC's operating costs until 2024.

But Woody was hopeful Wednesday that the center may yet become self-supporting.

"I have said for a couple of years -- but haven't had two years to prove it -- that as revenues and expenses continue to climb, we'll reach that sweet spot when revenues increase but expenses don't," he said.

"It's classic economies of scale," Peck added.

-- Michelle Dupler: 582-1543; mdupler@tricityherald.com

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