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City of Port Arthur and surrounding industries reach agreement

The city of Port Arthur may not have to annex their industrial neighbors after all.

The Port Arthur City Council will hold its regular meeting at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 444 Fourth St. in Port Arthur. The council will consider executing an Industrial District Agreement between the city and local industries that expires at the end of the year in lieu of annexation.

Those IDAs include: BASF Total Petrochemicals LLC, Total Petrochemicals & Refining USA, Inc.; BASF Corporation; Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LP; Chevron USA, Inc.; Flint Hills Resources Port Arthur; Praxair, Inc. (Motiva location); Praxair, Inc. (Valero location); Total Petrochemicals & Refining USA, Inc. and Total Par, LLC; Oxbow Calcining, LLC; The Premcor Refining Group, Inc. and GT Logistics LLC and Golden Triangle Properties.

The city held two prior public hearings on annexation in November.

Mayor Derrick Freeman explained an IDA as a partnership between the city and major industries that are in the Extra Territorial Jurisdiction of the city. Unless an IDA is made, the city will receive no property taxes from the industries.

The city’s operating budget is $65 million a year and $30 million of that comes from IDAs.

The city was in the process of annexation. The two parties were still negotiating before an agreement was reached. Letters were sent out to those who would be impacted by the annexation.

The provision of services, such as infrastructure, fire and police would have to be supplied to the newly annexed areas.

The City Council will consider delineating the number of authorized police officer positions in the Port Arthur Police Department.

An interoffice memo from Chief Patrick Melvin read the intent of the ordinance is to seek the city council’s approval to increase the authorized number of sworn officers allotted to the police department from 128 to 131 by adding one lieutenant and two sergeant positions.

“The lieutenant would be assigned over the following specialized units: narcotics, street crimes and community response. There is currently only one sergeant assigned to community response and the police department is wishing to reinstate the street crimes unit in response to the ongoing pockets of criminal activity throughout the city,” the memo read.

The council will discuss and possibly act upon the designation of The Port Arthur News as the city’s official newspaper.

Up for consideration are agreements with businesses in the case of an emergency or disaster. The term of the agreement is from Jan. 1, 2018 to Dec. 31, 2020.

For instance, Holiday Inn-Park Central would provide services, supplies, accommodation or conference rooms.

The American Legion Post 7 would provide the use of their facility. Market Basket would provide groceries and goods.

Derrick Oil Co. would provide services, fuel, lubricants, tanks, trucks, goods and equipment. Sprint Waste Services would provide roll-off boxes for garbage, drinking water and portable toilets.

Lastly, John Beard Jr., former city councilman, will give a presentation regarding industrial expansion and public accountability in the city.