Board members gave approval for another lease agreement Monday night.
Companies are interested in the Helena-West Helena Phillips County Port Authority Executive Director Martin Chaffin reported Monday at the monthly port authority session.
One company submitted a second proposal for a grain terminal located on river front property. Chaffin asked the board to take action on a lease agreement to avoid a special session. The board gave Chaffin unanimous approval, minus a few absent members. The proposal is for $50 a linear foot on easements and $30,000 a year.
Jim Frasier, engineer and board member, added that a 5-truck limit needed to be included to keep traffic on the levee to a minimum. Chaffin displayed a new set of drawings for their proposal to the board members.
Chaffin said the group’s first proposal was “too close to the frontage at the crane” and so he met with a representative and renegotiated the terms of the deal.
Chaffin said he was waiting on a firm proposal but the company was “solid.”
“They’re the kind of group we need to get in here,” he said.
He detailed the company’s background stating they would be “moving 200 barges a year,” and that they wanted to employ people on a year-round basis. He also said he asked for three years of financial information from them.
He said the company wants to “talk” indirect jobs, but Chaffin said that truck drivers did not count.
The terms of the lease included an escalating clause each year, reported Chaffin.
“I think they’ll do it,” he replied to the members.
William Quinney, board president, asked who was responsible for widening the levee. Frazier said that the idea was to keep interference with other levee traffic to a minimum.
Tommy Schackelford made a motion for a lease agreement of 10 years for $50 a linear foot, at $30,000 a year with the escalation clause and wording relating to truck traffic. That motion earned a second from John McClinton.
Following the meeting Chaffin was asked about the group he was in negotiations with but had very little to offer. He said the company was forming and did not offer any more information on the company during the interview.
Chaffin gave the board an update on his negotiations with Contract Fabricators out of Holly Springs, Miss.
Chaffin said he hoped to get a contract for 78,000 tons of pipe for the second pipeline that is to run through Phillips County. He said the company “wasn’t looking at Helena” to unload the pipe when he first spoke with them but during the last correspondence the company may look at the port for offloading. Chaffin explained that the previous pipes were shipped from India and this newest pipe, bigger at 42 inches in diameter, would come from Italy.
They off load at New Iberia, La. then make their way up river, hopefully to Helena, explained Chaffin.
Chaffin said he didn’t know the number of pipes to a barge but he estimated the number to be “somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 barges.”
“I’m going on estimates, but it’s close,” Chaffin said after the meeting.
Chaffin said the group currently leasing property for the storage of the pipe for the new pipeline would have to extend their lease since they still had pipe on the ground.
Frazier said that because of the rain, the company had to place bags of rocks on the newly laid pipe because they were coming up out of the ground.
Frazier reported that they had no problem drilling under the Mississippi River but were having difficulty with the rocks under the Cache River.
Chaffin said the port would charge $40 to offload a pipe joint this round instead of the $35 charged in the last pipe project.
Chaffin said he was still negotiating with the company.
“We haven’t signed any kind of contract,” he stated.