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Port authority reviews projects; Kior to begin equipment tests

 

Nerissa Young

 

The Columbus-Lowndes County Port Authority finished some housekeeping items on projects that are coming to a close. 

 

The board's regular Wednesday meeting included an update on the Kior project. 

 

Workers at the Kior plant are expected to begin testing equipment in the next month or two, Port Director John Hardy said. 

 

Construction on the Kior plant began in 2011 and is expected to be complete this year. Kior produces liquid fuel "blendstocks" of renewable gasoline and diesel, which are similar to traditional gasoline and diesel fuels. 

 

The $200 million investment is expected to bring at least 60 direct jobs. The plant is expected to open later this year. 

 

Hardy reported the third lane at the Kior plant access road is complete. 

 

The project cost about $325,000 for the right-turn-only lane. A state grant paid $150,000, and Columbus Light and Water contributed $42,000 and in-kind work on utilities, he said. The remaining $130,000 is a loan to be paid back over 10 years. The city of Columbus, Lowndes County and the Port Authority will each contribute $5,000 annually to pay off the loan. 

 

The board also voted to extend a lease and disburse money. 

 

Hardy recommended the board approve the final version of an extended 10-year lease with Logistic Services from Mobile, Ala., to operate the port. The lease includes increased rental and tonnage rates. 

 

Included in the lease is the right to use port-owned buildings, cranes, docks, Trackmobile, scales and forklift, he said. Not covered is the new front-end loader. 

 

This lease replaces a previous 10-year lease with Logistic. Members approved it unanimously. 

 

Hardy said the new loader was delivered Dec. 22 with the invoice due in 30 days. The authority gave him permission to write a check for the full amount -- $217,196 -- if the Mississippi Department of Transportation hasn't paid its share of the cost by then. 

 

The department is contributing $200,000 toward the loader cost. The port authority will pay the remaining $17,196. 

 

In other matters, 

 

n Members voted unanimously to pay the authority's share of the Old Macon Road project that serves Severstal steel on the port's west bank. 

 

Hardy said the total cost is $254,300. A grant paid for 80 percent of the work, which makes the road heavy duty. The authority's 20 percent share is $50,861.35. 

 

n Authority members reviewed the financial report from the Columbus Marina, which pays the authority a percentage of revenue as rent. 

 

Hardy said the rental income for 2011 was $12,200. The restaurant, most recently Woody's on the Water, has not operated for a year; he didn't know its future viability.

 

The contents of this article have been modified since its original posting.

 

 

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