BOCC considering port loan

Published: Thursday, July 17, 2014 at 09:16 AM.

After months of pleading it lacked funds to assist the Board of County Commissioners held a special meeting last week to discuss a possible loan of county funds to maintain the presence of the Port St. Joe Port Authority.

Commissioners debated whether to provide funding as the Port Authority strives to keep operating until dredging of the federally-authorized shipping channel at the Port of Port St. Joe is completed next year.

The exact amount of funding, the term of any loan and other components of a deal are to be presented during Tuesday’s 9 a.m. ET BOCC regular meeting and taken up the following day by the Port Authority during a special meeting.

The discussion arose from a Port Authority advertisement requesting proposals for securing of a line of credit of up to $500,000. That request drew a proposal from an individual lender.

The primary goal is to maintain minimal – there is no staff – function at the Port Authority while permitting, funding and completing the dredging of the ship channel is complete.

The foundation for dredging, and state funding for dredging and improvement to rail lines connected to the port, is two letters of intent between energy companies and the St. Joe Company, which owns the coastal land in the port master planning area, to ship through the Port of Port St. Joe.

One of those contracts is nearly finalized, said Tom Gibson, attorney for the Port Authority. The other is in the process of being finalized.

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