The Board of Trustees of the Galveston Wharves today voted 6-0-1, with Johnny Smecca abstaining because of a conflict, to seek a construction manager at risk to build the Downtown Intermodal Transportation Terminal at 25th and the Strand, rather than the competitive sealed proposal method that was tried unsuccessfully. Listen
“Port staff received proposals for the downtown transit terminal and Shearn Moody Parking Garage repairs and all bids exceeded $9 million, which was more than the funds available in the Federal Transit Administration grants,” explained Director of Real Estate and External Affairs Roger Quiroga, who called on Bruce J. Walck of Powers Brown Architecture and John Carrara of The Goodman Corporation to review the construction manager at risk method of procuring a builder.
The wharves board voted 6-0-1 to approve an amendment to the development and facilities agreement with the City of Galveston to extend the date to approve the lump sum amount for the terminal from July 31 to October 15.
The wharves board voted unanimously to accept reports from Freddie Meyers of Frost Bank and Shrub Kempner of Kempner Capital Management regarding the Galveston Wharves Pension Plan. Listen
“For the three month period ending June 30th, you’ll see that you had a negative return of 3.76 percent - that’s net of fees,” Meyer said, noting that 6.5 percent was invested in cash equivalents, 12.9 percent was invested in fixed income and 80.6 percent was invested in equities, adding that the fixed income portion of the portfolio had a positive return of 1.9 percent and the equities had a negative return of 4.84 percent.
Kempner presented his analysis of the nation’s economy in light of the annual slowdown.
“We do not think, emphatically do not think, we are going into a recession,” Kempner said. “Which is the usual leap of faith – or lack of faith – that people make, that if there is a slowdown, it’s a recession. That’s not our perception at this time.”
John Helsley, president of Texas, Mexico & Pacific Railroad, LLC, appeared before the wharves board to correct a misstatement by Galveston Mayor Lewis Rosen at last week’s Galveston Chamber of Commerce luncheon. Listen
“Mayor Rosen had given an indication that the bulk terminal project, or part of the project, had been put on hold,” Helsley said, explaining that he has since talked to Rosen who now understands that the project is not stalled, and is in fact moving forward.
Port Director Michael Mierzwa updated the wharves board on financial and tonnage results for the month of June. Listen
“The actual June operating revenues were $1.767 million, as opposed to the budgeted amount of $1.79 million, or was $22,799 under budget on the revenues,” he said. “The actual operating expenses for June were $1.067 million. The original budget had operating expenses of $1.38 million. Or, we were $226,992 over budget on operating expenses.”
Mierzwa said that much of the additional expense is attributable to legal fees related to the lawsuit against Lanachire Insurance Company. He said the decrease in wharfage revenue is attributable to a decrease in wind tower activity, but said that was offset by higher roll-on roll-off activity.
The wharves board and the Galveston Port Facilities Corporation each held annual meetings today. Roland Bassett was reelected chair of both boards. Eddie Walsh was elected vice chair of the wharves board.
Bassett administered oaths of office to newly appointed members Rusty Legg and Johnny Smecca and Robert Hoskins, who was reappointed. Legg is the city council's ex-officio representative.
The wharves board named Walsh, John Manlove and Benny Holland to the Finance Committee.
The wharves board discussed the vacant position of deputy director in executive session, but took no action on the matter in the public meeting.
All other agenda items were approved unanimously, except that members who were not present at a previous meeting abstained on approval of the minutes.