Port Authority takes first steps on dredging channel

Published: Thursday, September 5, 2013 at 09:35 AM.

To move ahead with the pre-application meeting and seagrass survey, however, another agreement must be forthcoming; this from the St. Joe Company in the form of a pledge to pay the 25 percent for funding the permitting process, Pitts said.

St. Joe has indicated a willingness to handle that expense, which is estimated to run about $250,000, but establishing a process for the money transfers – the state would reimburse the Port Authority which would reimburse St. Joe for funds paid out on the front end – has taken time.

“Before we can move ahead with tasks we must have an agreement with St. Joe on cash up front,” Pitts said. “There is confidence everything is going to move forward.”

Port attorney Tom Gibson is to have an agreement with St. Joe in front of port commissioners for approval by the Sept. 11 bi-monthly meeting.

Hatch Mott MacDonald has agreed to move ahead with its tasks while the payment process is worked out, Perry said, adding that the company, which has long worked with the port, believes in the project and the positive change in dynamics for development since the Port Authority and St. Joe partnered last year.

The seagrass survey will cost $36,100 and the pre-application meeting will cost $50,000, which includes preparation of documents demonstrating the economic need for the project, documentation on channel location and depth, schematics and other materials.

“This is an extremely important part of the project and it will have a great deal of impact on whether you have success or you don’t have success,” Perry said.

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