PAEDC directors approve agreement with recycling business

Published 5:46 pm Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Port Arthur Economic Development Corporation put the finishing touches to an agreement with Port Arthur Recycling at a special meeting on Oct. 17.

Floyd Batiste, executive director of the PAEDC, said the agreement was finalized as a deed of trust to secure the loan.

Richard Wycoff, a PAEDC director, asked how many acres the business would be situated on. Batiste answered 3.75 acres. He didn’t know if the business would have additional land to expand on.

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It will be built behind the Port Arthur Business Park on West Port Arthur Road.

Wycoff asked if there have been any complaints from neighbors about building a scrap iron yard.

Batiste said any complaints would have taken place at the Port Arthur City Council meeting who has the final approval.

Wycoff said there was a huge concern about a proposed slaughterhouse being built at the business park earlier this year because of the smell and he had concerns about the scrap iron yard.

“Was there a public hearing on this?” Wycoff asked.

Batiste said there would be one if the city had to approve it.

Port Arthur Recycling’s land was used for collateral, but none of their equipment was used for collateral. The land is valued at $320,000.

“The value of the land exceeds our incentive,” Batiste said.

Wycoff said the scrap iron business is not an upscale business as far as success goes.

“What’s his business plan? Revenue is really down for that type of business,” he said. “The scrap yard would be close to the business park and it would bring in rodents. I’m not convinced it’s a good deal.”

Batiste said 18 jobs would be created at the facility with an average pay of $12 an hour. It would create $1.5 million in revenue from wages over a three-year period. The business also owns a location in Houston.

Wycoff said there are scrap yards in Beaumont on more than 100 acres who have 25 employees Port Arthur Recycling would have to compete against.

“Eighteen are a lot of people to have in a short period of time,” he said.

The measure passed with Wycoff being the sole no vote.

The board of directors also approved a workforce training agreement with Program of Health Excellence for Certified Nursing Aide.

The cost of the program is $1,000 per student over a one-year period. There will be 20 students enrolled. The class is 15 hours and the contract is for $20,000.

The Local Government Code allows EDCs to spend money on training that leads to gainful employment.

Krystle Villarreal-Muller, employment and training specialist for the PAEDC, said benchmarks and requirements must be met to receive payment.

Batiste added the PAEDC pays for all costs. The only cost to the students is for the state licenses.

Wycoff said some kind of tracking methods need to be in place to rate the companies.

Batiste said they do not track individuals, but they do track performance.

Wycoff said it’s very easy to get money from the PAEDC and not perform.

Batiste said the company doesn’t get paid unless the PAEDC gets a copy of the student’s certificate.

For staff reports, RaNoda McClain-Lee, marketing and business recruitment specialist, said the PAEDC’s marketing campaign for the slogan, “Build It, Ship It, Rail It” won two international awards including a silver award from the International Economic Development Council meeting in Cleveland, Ohio.

“I’m looking forward to one day getting the gold,” she said.

Director Warren Pena said the revitalization of old buildings in Cleveland reminded him of what Port Arthur could do.

“They brought old buildings back to life,” McClain-Lee said.

Villarreal-Muller reported the recreational park in the far north corner of the business park is almost completed. The only thing left to be done is the landscaping and filling in a low spot with dirt given by B&B Ice.

A brochure has been made that features recent PAEDC projects. They will be handed out for a Feb. 9 job fair at the Bob Bowers Civic Center in Port Arthur.

Batiste said during his report the board asked him several years ago to come up with a five-year plan to state the goals and objectives of the PAEDC and make any adjustments as needed.

Batiste and McClain-Lee will be making a trip to Southern California to see if they can get any businesses there to relocate to Port Arthur.

He said Port Arthur’s location allows California businesses to better reach consumers on the east coast.

“We want to convince them it’s better to be here in Texas and the business park is shovel-ready and ready to moved in to,” he said.

Wycoff said to tell them about the success rate at the business park.

David Ball: 409-721-2427