PSJ Commissioners balk on Eastern waiver

Published: Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 10:25 AM.

Port St. Joe commissioners wavered Tuesday night on whether to grant a waiver of $74,000 in utility impact fees for Eastern Shipbuilding as the company proposes to expand its operation onto the old paper mill site.

Though two commissioners, Rex Buzzett and Bo Patterson, sounded ready to approve the request, no formal motion was brought and commissioners decided to schedule a special meeting in the next two weeks to give Eastern Shipbuilding Group an answer.

A representative with Eastern Shipbuilding could not comment on how the delay might impact the move of Eastern to Gulf County – Eastern is scheduled to bring the first hull for outfitting early next year.

He would only say that the company was trying to expedite the processes it had to go through to come to Gulf County and this was one of those processes.

“It will have to be (okay), won’t it?” Mack Woods said when asked if putting off approval was okay from Eastern’s viewpoint.

The debate among commissioners centered on the intended use of impact fees and how the city has applied them in the past.

City attorney Tom Gibson wrote in a letter that the city had set a precedent for what Eastern was asking, which was to tap existing lines that once fed the paper mill and pay for whatever the meters read.



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