POINT COMFORT — Seats were exchanged in the Calhoun Port Authority board room Wednesday, immediately after newly elected members were sworn in.
Port counsel Alan Sanders administered the oath of office for Dan Krueger, who ran unopposed for the District 6 seat; Johnny Perez, who ran unopposed for reelection to the District 5 seat; and Marvin “Marty” Strakos, who beat incumbent Shields A. “Tony” Holladay Sr. and another challenger for the District 1 seat.
Strakos won the May election for the District 1 seat with about 46% of votes.
Holladay made the motion to accepted the election results, thanked the board and wished the new members well. He has served on the Port’s board for nearly three decades and just filed for retirement, he said.
“I’ve been here since 1993, and I feel like it’s my home,” Holladay said. “I want to welcome you and hope you enjoy the board as much as I did, and the travel and things that go with it.”
Board members were tasked with electing a new board chairman and board secretary for the 2021-2023 term.
Board member Luis De La Garza was selected to replace board member J.C. Melcher Jr. as chairman, and board member Johnny Perez was selected to replace Holladay as board secretary.
Melcher was selected to serve as chairman in 2018, after the previous chairman, Randy L. Boyd, lost his seat to De La Garza.
The board passed a term-limit rule in 1997 that says a chairman must step down from the leadership role for at least two years before being selected again for the position.
The board planned to receive bids Wednesday for pre-dredge sampling and analysis required for a project to widen and deepen the Matagorda Ship Channel but postponed the review and consideration of those bids until May 19.
“We had more questions on the pre-dredge sampling and analysis plan. We will come back next week for that,” said Port Director Charles Hausmann. “It is just that the contractors on this; it is such a big contract, (and) they’ve had some other questions come up.”
In other project-related news, Hausmann said the Port and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers remain on track to complete the pre-construction and design phase of the widening and deepening project by December.
“We’ve actually got three survey boats working right now out in the channel, coming into the harbor channel and looking at the placement areas and doing surveys — the side scans and regular surveys — to get all the data that we need to keep the project engineering going,” he said.
The Corps also recently got authorization to dredge the shoal in the jetties that is outside the ship channel configuration, which they plan to do in the next few weeks, Hausmann said
“This is really good news because that (the shoal) has been creating some issues for the pilots,” he said.
Hausmann also gave an update on the Port’s new office space at the building Max Midstream Texas built on the North Peninsula, which staff is in the process of getting ready to move into.
As part of Max Midstream’s ground lease agreement with the Port, a minimum of 4,000 square feet of the office space will be leased to the Port for $1 per year. Max Midstream will use its portion of the building for office space and a crude oil and condensate analysis laboratory.
“We’re hoping to be moved into that new building in 60 days or so,” Hausmann said. “My goal is to have the August meeting there.”
Just last week, Max Midstream loaded its first barges of oil out of its terminal at the Port, he said.
“In another week or two, we should be having two more barges come in to do another run,” Hausmann said. “After that, we should start seeing some of the smaller Panamax coming into the Port (for Max Midstream).”
In a press release, Max Midstream President and CEO Todd Edwards said the company’s first loading at the Port demonstrates that its terminal is officially in business.
“For the first time, we have moved oil across our docks, and it’s just the beginning. We will offer a comprehensive package of services— from transporting oil across Texas, to getting it to the port, to fueling the ships that will take the product to the European market,” he said. “This is a great first step, and we are excited for the future of what’s to come.”