Port warehouse to get roof repairs

Published 12:02 am Tuesday, April 28, 2015

NATCHEZ — The Natchez-Adams County Port Commission has given the nod to proceed with work that will result in a total of approximately $750,000 in roof repairs to a port warehouse.

Work on the east wing of the warehouse roof is already in progress, and at this month’s port commission meeting, the commissioners gave the go-ahead to repair the west wing, Port Director Anthony Hauer said.

“The total scope for both projects will be somewhere between $700,000 and $800,000,” he said.

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“It was urgently required as well as part of the agreement between the (port) and the county.”

Hauer said the port as well as some of its clients had noticed water was penetrating into the warehouse. Maintenance is part of the operating agreement the port has with the Adams County Board of Supervisors for the facility.

The work is being funded by a port multi-modal capital improvement grant administered by the Mississippi Department of Transportation, Hauer said.

Adams County purchased the warehouse in July 2013 for approximately $2.5 million. Its previous owners had forfeited the property in bankruptcy, and the port commission had been operating it on behalf of Valley National Bank since February 2012.

Under the current operating agreement, the port pays the county $162,000 annually, which covers the cost of the bond note and the lost tax revenue, Adams County Board of Supervisors Vice President Mike Lazarus said.

The remainder of the revenues is directed to the port’s general operating fund.

Lazarus said the board was aware of some structural needs at the warehouse when it purchased the building.

“We had a pretty good idea that it needed some roof work, but when we talked to Anthony, we knew we could probably pay for it with grant money,” he said.

Lazarus said he is happy with how the warehouse operations are going, and that the building is full.

“Yes, we had to buy it and we are paying for it, but (the port) is paying us back for it, and at the end of the day, it is on the inventory for the county and worth $3 to $4 million,” he said.

One of the initial justifications for purchasing the warehouse was so the county could make available a portion of the associated acreage to Genesis Energy, which was at the time expanding the railcar capacity at its terminal.