Chevron Phillips Chemical pays county $2.4 million for permit
Last updated 2/16/2023 at 1:04pm
Orange County is already getting money from the Chevron Phillips Chemical plant under construction. County Judge John Gothia said the company has paid nearly $2.4 million for a building-drainage permit on the acreage where the $8.5 billion plant is being built.
Gothia said the county had put the money in reserves, or savings, and it is not included in the 2022-23 budget. However, that is changing.
Commissioners Court Tuesday voted unanimously to move $500,000 of the money to the current budget's contingency fund, which pays for unexpected needs and expenses. The money will be available to be spent, with a final approval from the court.
Gothia said the development permit also covers county expenses for the on-going inspections that will be needed throughout the construction. The plant is being named Golden Triangle Polymers and is off Highway 87 South between Orange and Bridge City.
New industry took up another part of the court's business Tuesday. Late last year, the county made a tax abatement deal with Enterprise Products Operating for a possible $850 million ethane terminal along the Neches River on the west side of the county. The company requested some changes.
Gothia said the main changes are for the name of the company and the dates the terms of the abatement will begin. Corporations often make adjustments in legal names for large projects as they acquire more partners in the venture. The court agreed to the changes, including moving the beginning of the abatement from 2023 to 2024.
Assistant County Attorney Denise Gremillion said she has concerns about the amended contract's definition of a "satellite" office. The abatement agreement requires Enterprise to hire local contractors and employees, if available. That would include local satellite offices of another company.
Gremillion said a lot of companies will have a headquarters in a city like Austin and offices in other cities. She said the companies with a legitimate branch are fine. But she is concerned a company may rent office space in Orange County and then claim to be a "local" vendor. Commissioners said they can address that in the future.
In other business, the court agreed to extend the county judge's disaster declaration made after a tornado outbreak in January that included an F-2 tornado traveling 25.6 miles across the county. The vote made the declaration without a set end.
Gothia said the county is working with the state to see if individuals with damage can get help. The county has been keeping its trash collecting station open every day of the week for debris, but regular hours will go back after Saturday.
He said the county has a grapple truck out picking up the vegetative debris. Precinct 1 Commissioner Johnny Trahan, whose area had widespread damage, said the ground has been too wet for some people to haul out things like down trees to the side of the road.
Gothia said property owners with insurance should have that cover removing the building debris, however the county will have to deal with picking up building debris from non-insured property owners. He said residents without damage to their houses may still need to have construction debris removed because it blew on their land from some place else.
The court accepted a $29,345 Community and Rural Health Grant from the National Environmental Health Association of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Health Inspector James Scales said the grant will be used to update computer equipment and help pay salaries.
Bills approved by commissioners included $45,752 for a 2023 Ford F150 pickup truck along with $36,000 for a 2022 Ford F150 pickup, both from Silsbee Ford. The trucks were purchased from a regional "buy board" which coordinates bids for government entities in this part of the state. Also, the court approved paying $371,581 to Amegy Bank of Texas for 2016 bonds through the Texas Public Property Finance.