The Board of Trustees of the Galveston Wharves today voted unanimously to approve a resolution “endorsing the efforts of Texas A&M University at Galveston to understand better, to define further, and to disseminate widely, information on the Ike Dike approach to surge protection”. Listen
“The Dutch don’t have flood insurance,” reported Trustee Johnny Smecca, who was part of a delegation of local people who traveled to Holland last week to view that country’s storm surge protection system. “They don’t need it. They believe in their system so well, that they don’t carry flood insurance.”
Smecca said that the Dutch system protects property that is actually below sea level so well that structures are built at grade, not on stilts like property on Texas beaches.
“Their whole reason for doing this is just survival,” Smecca said.
The wharves board voted to approve Port Director Michael Mierzwa’s selection of Peter Simons as deputy port director with an annual salary of $158,000. Simons is currently executive director of the Texas City Security Council. Listen
“I anticipate that he will be showing up here actually to begin work at the Port of Galveston probably toward the end of October,” Mierzwa said.
The wharves board voted to award a construction manager at risk agreement for construction of the Galveston Downtown Transit Terminal and renovation of the Shearn Moody Plaza Parking Garage to Turner Construction Company. Listen
The wharves board voted to approve an extension of the port’s lease agreement with T&T Marine Salvage, Inc. for two additional ten year terms for property on Pelican Island. Kevin and Kelly Teichman attended the meeting. Listen
“T&T Marine, and specifically my father, has devoted time and money to Galveston and the Port of Galveston,” Kevin Teichman said. “Our family wishes to continue that relationship and grow with the port in the future.”
At the request of Trustee Eddie Walsh, the wharves board discussed the T&T lease in executive session, then approved the extension with conditions.
“As long as they do not decrease their number of jobs and their footprint, the board was very much in support of giving them an extension of their current lease,” Mierzwa said. “But I am going to work with Kelly and Kevin about some amendment to their lease and it’s going to have to be taken back to the board and approved. Listen
The wharves board voted to approve a berthing agreement with HMS Bounty Organization, LLC to permit the Bounty, the replica of the original Bounty that was used in the movie, Mutiny on the Bounty starring Marlon Brando, for the ship to berth at Pier 21 with ELISSA for the winter months of 2012-2013. Listen
The wharves board voted to terminate a previous agreement with BMO Capital Markets GKST, Inc. Listen
"About a year and a half ago, they are the ones that brought us the deal with respect to the long term lease of the Port of Galveston to the Hutchison Port Holdings/Carlyle Group, which the board never acted on, and " Mierzwa recalled. "Subsequent to that, Hutchison Port Holdings pulled out of the offer."
In his Port Director's report, Mierzwa reported that operating revenue for the month of August was $1,641,260, which was $354,447 under budget; and operating expenses were $1,210,284, which was $127,064 under budget. Listen
All other agenda items were approved. All votes were unanimous.
John Helsley, president of TM&P Railroad, updated the wharves board on his development plans for Pelican Island, announcing that prospects are visiting the site today. Listen
Trustee Benny Holland asked about the financing of the project.
“Is the financing in place to build this or are you putting together something that you are hoping to attract investors to build?” Holland asked.
“We have commitment letters for $800 million,” Helsley answered.
“You have commitment letters?” Holland asked.
“The car group coming in today, they have a two phased interest here,” Helsley explained. “They are looking at the cruise ship cargo terminal for the movement of cargo; and they also want to look at investing in the bulk terminal.”
At a brief meeting of the Galveston Port Facilities Corporation before the wharves board meeting, Robert Lynch submitted his resignation. Listen
Lynch had served the maximum six years permitted under term limits, but the city council has not appointed a successor, which left him in the position. He said he hopes that his resignation will cause the city council to act on the appointment.