Port of Morgan City looks at site for command center
Port of Morgan City officials have selected a potential site for a new government operations and emergency center that could serve as a command center for the region during storms or other emergencies.
The Morgan City Harbor and Terminal Commission approved a purchase agreement Monday for about 4 acres between Victor II Boulevard and David Drive that the port plans to use for the operations and emergency center. The port is in the process of purchasing the property if the appraisal and all specifications check out, Port Executive Director Raymond “Mac” Wade said.
The port commission also authorized Wade to sign a cooperative agreement with the Office of Facility Planning and Control regarding its Government Operations and Emergency Center.
State Rep. Sam Jones, D-Franklin, and state Sen. Bret Allain, R-Franklin, secured $7 million in capital outlay money to help build the center, Wade said. The port is required to put up a $2.3 million match. The cost of the land will be slightly more than $1 million, which will be included in the port’s match, Wade said.
Wade expects funding to be available to begin the project in July or August, he said. “Once we get the piece of property, then we’re going to start with the engineering and the architect design,” Wade said.
Also at Monday’s port meeting, Mike Lowe of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said the armoring of the Crewboat Cut in the Atchafalaya River was completed Saturday. The next phase of work in the project is to dredge the cut to open it up, and the corps will advertise the contract in March, he said.
The commission authorized Port Commission President Jerry Gauthier to sign an agreement with engineering firm Moffat & Nichol to do a sediment management plan and related services agreement in regard to the sidecaster dredge demonstration in the Atchafalaya River Bar Channel.
The sidecaster dredge involves agitating the sediment that builds up in the channel and casting it to the side of the channel in order to maintain the congressionally mandated 20-foot depth of the channel. Sidecasting is an alternative to cutter head dredging, which is more expensive.
Maarten Kluyver of Moffat & Nichol said the port asked the engineering firm to coordinate the sidecaster dredge demonstration and coordinate data collection to accompany the demonstration program. The data collection will give engineers “a good handle” on the effectiveness of the demonstration program and will look at forming a new sediment management plan for the harbor and terminal district, Kluyver said.
The engineering firm will also review installing a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System and data collection stations, Kluyver said.
Once the Crewboat Cut project is finished, the corps will know how much money it has to fund the sidecaster dredge demonstration, Wade said.
In other business,
—The commission approved Gauthier to sign a lease agreement with Halliburton Energy Services to lease 25,000 square-feet of the port’s transit yard next to the port’s railroad spur. Baker Hughes occupies another 25,000 square-feet of that yard.
—The commission accepted the results of its 2012-13 audit by Darnall, Sikes, Gardes & Frederick for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2013.
Blaine Crochet of Darnall, Sikes, Gardes & Frederick said he did not have any findings in regard to laws or federal programs in its audit of the Morgan City Harbor and Terminal District.
The auditor found one deficiency in regard to the inadequate segregation of accounting, which is a repeat finding, due to the district’s limited number of accounting personnel, Crochet said.
The auditor issued unmodified opinions on the financial statements and compliance with the major federal award program, Crochet said.
Port officials are moving forward with the effort to acquire land along the railroad tracks that the City of Morgan City leases from H&B Young Foundation, Engineer Clay Breaud of Providence/GSE said.
Wade said the city no longer wants to use the property, and the port plans to lease that property from H&B Young Foundation. The foundation is requesting rezoning from the City of Morgan City for property at 705 Youngs Road in order for the port to have access to a railroad spur. The request will go before the Planning and Zoning Commission at its meeting tonight.