PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

December 10, 2013

PA deadline nearing for industrial agreements

Sherry Koonce
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR — Port Arthur city officials approved another in lieu of tax payment Tuesday, but with a Dec. 31 deadline looming, it looks very likely the city will go down to the wire in forging new agreements with the remaining companies.

City Council approved a three-year contract with Oxbow Calcining LLC at their regular meeting. Oxbow officials agreed to pay 80 percent of the amount that would have been paid in property taxes if the company were located inside city limits rather than the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction.

The company will also will provide to the city reports detailing its efforts to hire Port Arthur residents and purchase materials from local vendors. The company will also participate in the Port Arthur Industrial Group and the Port Arthur Business Enterprise.

Oxbow is among one the 18 companies located in the city’s ETJ with expiring contacts, but not the first to sign a new agreement.

In November, Veolia Environmental Services and GT OmniPort forged industrial agreements.

Veolia has agreed to pay 95 percent of what the company would be paying in property taxes. Veolia’s contract is for one year.

GT OmniPort and Port Arthur Steam Energy each have agreed to a three-year contracts. And, like Oxbow, the companies agreed to work toward reaching milestones regarding the hiring of a local workforce and the use of Port Arthur vendors.

City officials remain in negotiations with the remaining companies that have not yet signed new industrial agreements.

Those companies include: Atofina, BASF (Old Sandoz,)BASF/BASF Corp/BASF Fina/TOTAL (BTP,) Chevron Phillips, Chevron USA, Flint Hills, Ineos Phenol, Praxair (located on property on the Motiva Port Arthur Refinery,) (Valero) Premcor: Hydrotreater Refinery Expansion, (Valero) Premcor: Tier II, (Valero) Premcor, Refinery and HOUP, Total Veolia, Air Products, Praxair, and Entergy, which has metering locations and substations, is located in the ETJ,

If those agreements are not negotiated by the time they expire on Dec. 31, the city will move forward with its annexation plans.

City Council tabled an agenda item Tuesday to adopt an ordinance that would have implemented the annexations.

If annexed, the city would be able to collect property taxes, but would be required to provide full municipal services such as water and sewer, police and fire protection.

“It’s been intense discussions and it looks like we are going to go down to the wire in our time frame, but we are cautiously optimistic,” Floyd Johnson, Port Arthur city manager, said.

E-mail: skoonce@panews.com

Twitter: skooncePANews