Author photo

By Margaret Toal
For the Record 

New chemical plant spends $241million last year


Last updated 2/27/2024 at 6:36pm

Orange County Commissioners Court got received an update from the Chevron-Phillips Golden Triangle Polymers plant with reporting of nearly $241 million being spent locally by the company and its contractors for construction of the $8.5 billion petrochemical plant on Highway 87 South.

Company representative Heather Betancourth told commissioners that in the fourth quarter of 2023, which ended December 31, the company had spent a total of $79.9 million locally. Of that, $42.7 million was spent by 101 local companies with work contracted by Chevron-Phillips, plus $37.2 million by Chevron-Phillips to local companies for contracted work.

Betancourth explained that local companies are those with main business locations in Orange County, including the cities of Orange, West Orange, Bridge City, Pinehurst, Vidor, and Rose City. The local workforce in the report is for people with a main residences in the nine-county area which besides Orange County but also Jefferson, Hardin, Jasper, Newton, Tyler, and Chambers counties, plus the Bolivar Peninsula area of Galveston County.

Orange County Commissioners Court as part of the tax abatement agreement with Chevron-Phillips required the company to establish the Local First program to assure companies in Orange County, along with area workers are used for the construction phase. The quarterly reports are part of the agreement.

As part of the program, Chevron-Phillips has had hiring expos for workers and other expos for local vendors and contractors for how they can be approved to become a vendor. Pre-registration details are available at the corporation’s website or the Golden Triangle Polymers Facebook page.

Another Local First Job Fair is set for March 7, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the county Expo Center on FM 1442.

Betancourth said the Local First program requested a list of the International Paper mill’s local vendors plus held an employment session for the employees of the mill. International Paper in October announced the plant’s December closing.

Other statistics from the plant project included fourth quarter spending of nearly $1.7 million on small purchases with local businesses including a number of locally-owned restaurants, office supply companies, building materials, appliances, grocery stores, floral shops, big box stores, and a variety of others. Those purchases would also provide sales taxes to the county and local cities.

County Judge John Gothia said he has had calls about hiring of people who live outside the area. But, he explained, Orange County “doesn’t have an abundance of skilled labor” and “sometimes you have to go to another area.”

In other business, Patrick Bebee, county mosquito control director, asked for an additional $82,500 for his budget to buy mosquito spraying insecticide to fight the influx of mosquitos. He said the county’s spray plane has only enough chemicals to make four more flights for the rest of the 2023-24 fiscal year, which will end September 30.

He said last year’s severe drought, followed by rain in October, brought out the salt water mosquitoes. An unseasonably warm winter has caused mosquitoes to continue to proliferate. County commissioners unanimously approved the extra money. Bebee said he hopes it lasts.

Residents of the Heritage Hollow subdivision in Precinct 3 have requested the county to lower the speed limit to 15 mph on the residential streets, which include Chimney Rock and Fireside. A resident said all but three people living on the street have signed a petition because children play and ride bikes in the street. The county will hold a public hearing on the proposed new speed limit at 9:30 a.m. April 2. The date was set to meet the legal requirements to advertise the proposed change and public hearing.

Commissioners court also appointed new Bridge City City Manager Christopher Baker to the board of directors of the Orange County Economic Development Corporation. He is replacing the vacancy of a Bridge City representative on the board. In addition, Chad Jennings with the new Golden Triangle Polymers plant was appointed to the board.

County Tax Assessor-Collector Karen Fisher reported the county in January collected $69.55 million in taxes, with $20 million of that the county’s share. The county office also collects taxes for cities, school districts, and special districts.

Payments approved included nearly $186,000 to T Construction for work on drainage improvement projects with the money coming from Texas General Land Office hurricane recovery grants. Precinct 2 Commissioner Chris Sowell said the work is going to help solve drainage projects.


Reader Comments(0)


Our Family of Publications Includes:

County Record
Penny Record

Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2024