Port of West St. Mary studies bringing natural gas to tenants

With increasing need for natural gas among some Port of West St. Mary tenants, commissioners authorized a study Tuesday on how best to proceed with providing that service.

Executive Director David Allain said there is a large main line running across part of the port property already. However, infrastructure to deliver that natural gas supply to tenants such as Marine Turbine Technologies and off-site industry Twin Brothers Marine is an expensive venture of about $1.2 million.

There are two options available to the port: build the system themselves and hire a natural gas distribution expert to run it, much the same as the port did years ago when it built its water system; or enter into an agreement with a service provider.

Allain has identified a consulting service that will study the feasibility of obtaining funding through grants, low-interest loans or other sources if the commission decides to embark on its own construction project. Commissioners agreed with Allain that it would be preferable to own the system themselves. They also agreed that providing natural gas service to the port site will not only meet a current need but also future requirements.

The consultant will charge a fee of $2,500 per month, which the commission would limit to 60 days.

Allain said he would approach the firm to determine exactly how much they can accomplish within that time period.

Also Tuesday, Allain reported that repairs to cross ties at the port have been completed.

He also reported that the port’s master plan has also been completed.

Allain said the port’s ad valorem tax is being renewed at a revenue-neutral stance.

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