By Kelly McChesney, Reporter
In a step toward bringing 10-15 permanent jobs and as many as 150 temporary jobs to Houston County, commissioners unanimously approved a resolution designating the Alamo Plant Reinvestment Zone during the regular Commissioners Court meeting Tuesday, Jan. 27.
Three hundred acres located approximately three miles west of East Texas Livestock ("the sale barn") will be known as the "Alamo Plant" Reinvestment Zone for a Texas Tax Code Chapter 312 tax abatement.
The Commissioners Court unanimously approved the application from ETC Texas Pipeline, LTD. The Alamo Plant Reinvestment zone will remain designated as a commercialindustrial reinvestment zone for a period of five years. According to the application read by Houston County Judge Erin Ford, the average annual wage for the permanent employees is expected to be $37,715.90.
Construction of the natural gas condensation plant is proposed to begin in the second quarter of 2015 and be completed during the fourth quarter of 2015.
The plant will open in January 2016, according to the application for tax abatement from ETC Texas pipeline, LTD.
The plant will receive natural gas from the Permian Basin area via a 24-inch pipeline, manufacture natural gas condensate from the natural gas, then send the natural gas condensate to the Mont Belvieu area via a 30- inch pipeline. This is going to be a gas distribution center.
Natural gas condensate is a liquid gas condensed from raw gas when the temperature is reduced.
Dr. Greg Poole, a consultant with Jigsaw School Finance Solutions, LTD. retained by Houston County in Dec. 2014, said that ETC Texas Pipeline, LTD. has a good reputation.
He said, "This is a magnet."
He predicted, "It could cause other industries to be interested in locating in Houston County."
Poole explained, "There is a national trend going to allow exportation in natural gas."
He said the fluctuation in oil prices should not effect the profitability of the plant.
Ford commented that the Middle East and Europe are desperate for liquid natural gas.
This is going to be a gas distribution center.
According to the application, the projected date to start construction is June 2015.
Hiring is projected to begin in July for the construction.
Ford speculated the plant would probably employ maintenance technicians, operators, a safety engineer and depending on how large the plant is, various supervisors.
Some of the employees would work three shifts as the plant is operated "around the clock."
He said, "This will support local service contractors...housing will be a positive assuming they live here."
Precinct 2 Commissioner Willie Kitchen asked Ford to define a reinvestment zone.
Ford explained, "The reinvestment zone as established for the gas processing center is estimated to be a $90 mil project.
He explained that under the abatement, the area would be excluded from the county appraisal district tax.
Ford said, "For that we would get a prorated share."
He added, "We are developing this for the county's future."
Poole said, "We are asking them to come and build here."
He explained that the company is going to pay a different tax which will be negotiated.
Poole said, "It's an incentive not just for the jobs, but as a catalyst for other companies to move into this area.