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Broome Bus Station Diner Losing Thousands

Bob Joseph/WNBF News

Broome County’s venture into serving food and drink to bus travelers has turned out to be a money-losing experiment.

Information released by the county in response to a Binghamton man’s Freedom of Information Law request reveals Twilight Diner at the downtown bus station has lost nearly $20,000.

The profit and loss statement provided by Broome County indicates the restaurant at the Greater Binghamton Transportation Center on Chenango Street has been losing an average of $2800 a month.

From May 22 through December 31, the statement from Broome County Central Foods noted the diner wound up with a net loss of $19,629.48.

The profit and loss numbers may be revised because the books for 2012 won’t be closed until the end of February.

The information was released to John Solak of Binghamton, who provided it to WNBF News.

After receiving the statement, Solak sent an email to County Executive Debra Preston asking whether she would make good on a pledge on WNBF’s Binghamton Now program that she’d give the diner six months before deciding whether the county would continue to operate it.

Solak forwarded Preston’s response to him. She wrote: “We are sending out the RFP on diner this week as I do not want to stay in this business.” RFP stands for request for proposals.

Preston could not be reached by WNBF News this afternoon to discuss the diner.

During a June 6 Binghamton Now interview, Preston said the just-opened diner was “doing very well.”

Preston said the county opened the diner because otherwise it would have had to repay $1.4 million dollars to the federal government.

The county executive described it as a “six-month project” to determine whether the business could be started so it could be taken over by a private operator.

Preston said: “At the end of six months, if this isn’t working, we’re going to have to shut it down because we’re not going to be in the restaurant business.”

Preston said she believed the county had to “give it a try” so it wouldn’t have to return federal funds that had been designated for the bus station project.

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