Airport deal to be considered; Comish to consider Tekoa bond

Published 9:50 am Monday, April 3, 2017

Jefferson County Commissioners Court’s Monday agenda includes the possible approval of a resolution authorizing Judge Jeff Branick to execute an order approving a tax-exempt bond for $12 million dollars for the benefit of Tekoa Charter School, Inc.

This bond, according to a PDF on the county’s website, is a revenue bond, which means that the holder of it, in this case, Arlington Higher Education Finance Corporation, is requiring the benefactor, in this case, Tekoa Charter School, Inc. to produce revenue in order to pay back the bond.

In short, it should cost local taxpayers nothing.

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Judge Branick said that this is a conduit issue, in that the court has the ability to issue many types of bonds within the county that do not necessarily involve the county directly, other than requiring its courts for processing.

“They do not create any tax obligation or burden to county tax payers,” Branick said.

The main reason this is going through this Commissioners Court is because the corporate entity that is taking on the bond is doing so to make the improvements to two addresses located in the county, 3145 39th Street and 3030 39th Street, both in Port Arthur.

The commissioners will also look at economic development of the land around Jack Brooks Regional Airport, which involves both the county, as the leaseholder, and the Nederland Economic Development Corporation (NEDC), as the lessee, along with any commercial retail owners.

Commissioner Brent Weaver said that this is something that the county and NEDC have been working on for a long time.

“Anything that promotes the economic development of the county is a good thing,” Weaver said. “I believe it’s a great opportunity for growth and development in the county, and it’s an ideal location.”

Kay Decuir, executive director of the NEDC, said that she was not even aware that these issues, which involve her organization directly, were on the agenda.

“We’ve been on the agenda before, and then removed or tabled. It’s happened before,” Decuir said. “This time we didn’t even know it was coming up again.”

Decuir assured that no decision could be reached without NEDC’s attorneys looking over the lease again for any changes that might have been made. She said those details will emerge at the meeting.

Weaver is hopeful and optimistic that it will be a positive thing for the county.