JeffCo commissioners to look at PA business tax abatement

Published 6:18 pm Friday, October 21, 2016

The Jefferson County Commissioners Court will consider and possibly approve a tax abatement for one Port Arthur industry at their regular meeting at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 24 in the commissioners’ courtroom, Fourth Floor of the Jefferson County Courthouse, 1149 Pearl St. in Beaumont.

The commissioners will consider approving a reinvestment zone for GT Logistics on Highway 73 in Port Arthur’s Extra Territorial Jurisdiction.

“That the commissioners court finds that the zone area meets the qualifications of the Texas Redevelopment and Tax Abatement Act,” a memorandum read. “The commissioners court finds that such improvements are feasible and will benefit the zone after the expiration of the agreement.”

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“The commissioners court finds that creation of the zone is likely to contribute to the retention or expansion of primary employment in the area and/or would contribute to attract major investments that would be a benefit to the property and that would contribute to the economic development of the community.”

In a prior News article about the July 13 Port Arthur City Council meeting, it was reported Ken Brown, project executive, with Zeo Gas — a natural gas company, spoke to the Port Arthur City Council at their regular meeting in July about the city supporting their efforts for a start-up Greenfield plant in Port Arthur. The plant would be outside the city limits in Jefferson County, but still within the Extra Territorial Jurisdiction of Port Arthur.

This was during the work session of the meeting and a non-action item. It was the first meeting for new mayor, Derrick Freeman, to preside at a complete meeting.

“This is our second time here,” Brown said. “We want to develop a world-scale methanol unit here.”

Zeo Gas, LLC, originally wanted to build the plant in Port Arthur — a $1 billion natural gas conversion plant two years ago. The city wouldn’t allow land inside the city limits to be used.

Instead Zeo Gas asked and received from Jefferson County to designate a reinvestment zone, or an abatement zone, at the regular meeting of the Jefferson County Commissioners Court.

Fred Jackson, assistant to the county judge, said the proposed plant would be built at G.T. Omniport, the old Arco plant, where Highway 82 splits from Highway 73.

The company would use clean natural gas to produce methanol or ultra-low benzene and sulfur-free gasoline.

Substantial as in a cost of $1.1 billion. It will take three years to build and would create 75 permanent fulltime jobs with an average salary of $70,000 a year. Brown said that number may bump up to 100 if Zeo Gas can build an office building at the site.

He explained the plant is the first of two and possibly three projects at the property. The plant will be built on 35 acres to 50 acres on a total of 351 acres.

In other county business, the commissioners will consider approving a change order number two for McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge Dune Restoration with Apollo Environmental for a decrease of $121,150. The decrease is due to the adjustment of quantities and qualities to reflect a change in process, bringing the total contract amount from $3,871,386 down to $3,750,236.

This change order will increase contract working days by 81 days, bringing the total number of working days from 315 days up to 396 days.

Likewise, change order number three will decrease $9,702 from $3,750,236 down to $3,740,533. This change order will increase contract working days by 16 days, bringing the total number of working days from 396 days up to 412 days.

Lastly, the commissioners will consider the final plat of Mid-County Industrial Park Phase I.

A Mid-County Industrial Park is awaiting the first step in its development.

County Engineer Don Rao said the park will be built along FM 3514 across from the state jails on Highway 69. It will be a lease site. The property will be outlined and determine how the drainage will be handled.

The property lies within Beaumont’s Extra Territorial Jurisdiction and plans can’t go forward until they are approved and completed.

David Ball: 409-721-2427