John Helsley, president of Texas Mexico Pacific Railroad, today reported to the Board of Trustees of the Galveston Wharves that his Pelican Island development is moving forward. Listen
“I’m pleased to announce this morning that our funds have been officially put into place at JPMorgan Chase Bank in Georgia,” Helsley said. “We have brought on board AECOM as our construction partner. “
Paulie Gaido addressed the wharves board regarding opportunities for the port that will come with the completion of the Panama Canal expansion. Listen
“There was a wedding in Costa Rica and we spent a week and a half in Panama,” Gaido said. “What surprised me in seeing both the new canal and the old canal, and talking with Panamanians was how often the name Galveston came up.”
Gaido suggested that the port participate in the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the canal and dedication of the new canal by sailing a new Panamax container ship from Colon to Galveston “accompanied by whatever flotilla of celebrants that can be assembled.”
Port of Galveston Executive Director Michael Mierzwa reported that operating revenues in September were $1,815,914, which was $211,497 under budget; and that operating expenses were $1,435,480, which was $10,198 over budget. Listen
“Going to the bottom line though, the net income after grant FEMA proceeds for the month of September was $1,578,843,” he said. “The original budget had a net income after grant FEMA proceeds of $6,783, so we were over $1,572,060 over what was budgeted.”
Mierzwa reported that he, Vice Chair Eddie Walsh, Director of Real Estate Roger Quiroga and Finance Director Mark Murchison met with the City of Galveston Finance Director earlier in the week.
“They were interested in getting a briefing on our debt service,” Mierzwa said.
Walsh said that there were also questions about the port’s payment to the city in lieu of taxes.
“I think we need to do a better job of selling our vision and communicating our vision,” Walsh said.
“My view is that I don’t see the port giving money to the city,” Bassett said about the payment in lieu of taxes. “I think our job is to create jobs. I think that’s the sole reason for the port to be here is to create jobs, in a broad sense, economic activities. We are not here to support the city’s operations.”
Freddie Meyer of Frost Bank reported to the wharves board on the port’s pension portfolio.
“Looking at the performance for the period ending September 30th, for the three month period, the fund was up 3.67 percent,” Meyer said. “That’s net of fees. “
Meyer said that for the nine month period ending September 30 it was up 10.24 percent; and for the fiscal year it was up 20.1 percent.
The wharves board voted unanimously to accept the report from Frost Bank.
The wharves board also voted unanimously to:
- Approve an expenditure of $35,000 in Capital Improvement Funds for cruise parking lot, cruise terminal entrance and frontage improvements;
- Approve $12,950 as the local match for the $25,900 purchase of bulletproof vests for the port police department utilizing a Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant;
- Approve the expenditure of up to $50,000 as the port's local match and approval to solicit additional matching funds from other community entities for Harborside Drive Beautification; and
- Approve an annual salary of $158,000 for Deputy Port Director Peter Simons.
All other agenda items were approved. All votes were unanimous with all members present.
At a meeting of the Galveston Port Facilities Corporation prior to the wharves board meeting, Bassett administered the oath of office to John F. Machol, who was recently appointed to the corporation by Galveston City Council.