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By Margaret Toal
For the Record 

County, Orangefield ISD may get $850 million ethane terminal


Last updated 10/25/2022 at 7:19pm

An Orange County site along the east banks of the Neches River may be getting a methane shipping terminal worth $850 million. Orange County Commissioners Court Monday approved a tax abatement offer to Enterprise Products Operating LLC.

The site is off Mansfield Ferry Road and is the Orangefield ISD.

The shipping terminal for ethane, which is a crucial ingredient for the petrochemical industry to make polyethylene plastic products, will have an estimated 1,400 to 3,200 construction jobs. Once completed, the company will have a 29 permanent employees with jobs worth $63,000 to $89,000 year.

County Economic Development Director Megan Layne recommended the county offer a 10-year tax abatement deal with the company paying the county $425,000 a year for the years the taxes are abated. Commissioners Court unanimously agreed to the terms, with only Precinct 3 Commissioner Kirk Roccaforte absent from the meeting because he is on his honeymoon.

Layne said the company is also considering sites in East Baton Rouge, Calcasieu Parish, and Harris County. The Orange County tax abatement offer is competitive with the other sites.

School districts in Texas do not give tax abatements, but negotiate with a company in what is called a "3-13" agreement with the Texas Comptroller's Office.

Layne said the company could begin construction in the first quarter of 2023 and could be operating by the second quarter of 2025.

She said Enterprise Products is the same company that looked at the site a few years ago and ended up choosing to build a terminal at the Houston Ship Channel instead.

Chevron-Phillips, which announced in January 2019 that Orange County is a finalist for the site of a new $5 billion chemical plant, still has not formally announced where the plant will be built. However, a number of acres along Highway 87 South between Orange and Bridge City have been cleared with electrical lines and pipelines installed as preparation for the possible future plant. Workers continue to improve the site daily.

In other business during the commissioners court meeting, County Tax Assessor-Collector Karen Fisher reported the total taxes assessed in the county are nearly $37.4 million, plus another $180,000 for the farm to market road fund. Delinquent taxes for 2022 total about $3.82 million, plus another $23,000 in the farm to market road fund.

Tax statements for 2023, which are due at the end of January, have been mailed to everyone in the county except for property owners in the Little Cypress-Mauriceville CISD. The district is having a voter approved tax rate election on November 8 and the election will determine the district's tax rate. The tax bills in the district will be mailed after the election determines the tax rate.

Commissioners approved three minor property plat changes that have been reviewed and approved by the county engineer and the Orange County Drainage District.

The change for the Claude R. Wilhelm Addition in Precinct 2 off Tranquilty Road is allowing an 11.559-acre tract to be divided into two tracts. One will be 3.857 cares and the other 2.768 acres.

The plat for Lake Addition in Precinct 4 off Stephenson Road divides a 7.73-acre tract into three tracts measuring 3.54 acres, 3.10 acres, and 1.09 acre.

The Duncan Woods Estates in Precinct 3 off Duncan Woods Lane is dividing a 3.495-acre tract into two, one being 1.522 acre and the other 2.301 acres.


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