NuStar approved to seek more GO Zone bonds

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 4, 2011



CONVENT – The St. James Parish Council on Wednesday voted to introduce an ordinance to allow NuStar Logistics to apply for additional Gulf Opportunity Zone bonds to help fund construction of an expansion at the company’s petroleum storage terminal on the west bank.

The ordinance, which will be discussed at a public hearing during the council’s next meeting June 15, will allow NuStar to acquire as much as $75 million in additional GO Zone revenue bonds for the second phase of the expansion. The council voted unanimously to approve introduction of the ordinance.

Parish spokesperson Melissa Wilkins said NuStar is taking advantage of an extension for applications for the low-interest federal revenue bonds. The application deadline was originally set for January but has since been extended to allow for more projects. She said NuStar is looking to acquire about $69 million additional GO Zone bonds.

Wilkins said this will be the fourth time NuStar has come before the parish council seeking GO Zone bonds. If the council approves the ordinance at the next meeting, the request will go before the State Bond Commission, which would then decide whether or not to approve the additional money.

The planned expansion project will double the size of the tank farm from 4.8 million barrel capacity to about 9 million barrel capacity, adding 24 tanks of various sizes to the facility’s footprint. Wilkins said the expansion’s first phase, which is expected to be online by August 2011, will bring about 400 new jobs to the St. James Parish region.

According to NuStar’s website, phase two of the expansion, which is expected to be about the same size as phase one, is on tap for late 2013.

The GO Zone bonds were created by an act of Congress as a way to jumpstart economic growth in the region following hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. The bonds would be issued as fixed rate bonds bearing an interest rate not to exceed 10 percent per year with a 30-year maturity date.

In other action Wednesday’s, the council introduced an ordinance calling for a special election to renew property tax millages for fire protection and drainage. The election, which would be held Oct. 22 during the general parish elections, is for a renewal of the millages for another 10 years.

Wilkins explained the drainage tax is for 2.98 mills and would be parishwide, while the fire protection tax is for .74 mills and is only for District 2. The ordinance requires a public hearing that is set for June 15 in Vacherie.

The council also authorized a resolution to allow the parish to submit applications to the state Office of Community Development for participation in the Disaster Recovery Unit’s Minor Home Repair program. The program offers qualified homeowners up to $145,000 for minor home repairs as a result of hurricanes Gustav and Ike in 2008.

The parish will hold special meetings June 14 at the Vacherie Courthouse Annex and June 21 at the St. James Courthouse in Convent to discuss qualifications.

Both meetings will begin at 1 p.m.