Court, EDC approve incentive agreement with Jefferson Gulf Coast Energy Partners

Published 11:47 am Wednesday, February 28, 2018

By Ginger Broomes

The Orange Leader

Commissioners Court and Orange County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) have approved a Chapter 381 abatement agreement with Jefferson Gulf Coast Energy Partners, LLC to invest $150,000,000 in the expansion of its trans-load facility in Orange County.

Jefferson Energy and affiliates have invested over $350 million dollars in the facility since 2012.

“Orange County is excited to partner with Jefferson Energy once again,” Executive Director of Orange County EDC said. “Since breaking ground in 2012, Jefferson Energy has contributed millions to the Orange County economy. This is a sizable investment which I believe will be a substantial and long-term asset to Orange County.”

The parties have agreed to a 10-year, 100-percent property tax abatement on the improvement value on the investment, along with a payment in lieu of taxes to Orange County.

Emergency Management Coordinator Ralph Valenciano notified the Court that the FEMA disaster recovery center at the Expo Center in Orange was seeing dwindling numbers of Harvey survivors, most of which were recurring visitors looking to appeal already-denied FEMA assistance, with the exception of a handful of new people, and therefore FEMA would be looking to possibly close the center soon. However, with Vidor’s FEMA disaster recovery center scheduled to close their doors on Feb. 28, possibly pushing those people to the Orange location, it was decided to extend FEMA’s license to continue to use the Expo Center as a recovery location until March 17.

Valenciano then updated the court on continuing debris pick up.

“As of February 20, 270 cubic yards of debris have been picked up,” Valenciano said. “All of this debris came out of the city of Bridge City. We are complete in Bridge City except for five streets. The truck is in Vidor right now with a plan to go to Rose City.”

He said from there it was being taken as a case by case basis.

The newly formed Hazard Mitigation which was assigned committee members last week had met again yesterday and the frequency of meetings would increase. He said yesterday’s meeting assigned items on the previously approved action plan and the group worked on discussing current known deficiencies.

He also stated that Emergency Management has been monitoring the water levels of both the Neches and Sabine Rivers, and due to the vast amount of rain seen recently, they would keep monitoring levels every hour. The Neches is expected to rise another six inches by Saturday, March 3, and the Sabine River looked “pretty good for Orange County”.

Approval was given to expand the scope of work for Parkwood Land Company to repair areas of the levee north of Interstate 10 and east of the Neches River back to pre-Harvey conditions. The original scope had called for repairs of 500 feet of the levee, but once work began, there was more damage to the levee than previously thought, so the scope was extended to cover more area.

Heather Champion with Spindletop Center presented the organization’s Annual Report of Fiscal Year 2017. Spindletop is an organization that, in 2017, provided over 1800 residents, in Orange County alone, with crisis and health services for babies, kids and adults, and is overseen by commissioner-appointed Board of Trustees. They provide services to Beaumont and surrounding areas.