Thursday, April 19, 2018

Notes on Presidio International Port Authority Meeting Monday April 16th, 2018, 4:00 PM, Presidio, TX

The Port Authority has not been meeting often and should be meeting much more often in the future. It's my opinion that this is the most important project that Presidio County is involved in. It is complex, confusing, and the stakes are very high. Let's hope our leadership leads us towards success in this matter. I will continue to make an effort to cover these meetings. Please attend if possible.

Here are my notes for this meeting-

Presidio International Port Authority Meeting, Monday April 16, 2018, 4:00 PM, Presidio County Annex, Presidio.

Present: County Judge Cinderela Guevara, Jim White III, Mayor John Ferguson. Also present: director Jake Giesbrecht, County Atty Rod Ponton, Presidio city administrator Joe Portillo, tourism director Brad Newton. 
Additional director Alcee Tavares is in his way. Arrives at 4:09 PM.

Meeting convened at 4:14 PM

Public Comments:
Brad Newton commends the group.

Communication from County Judge: meeting with TXDOT and construction contractor. Judge has not yet seen the bridge activity, would like to go soon. 
Ferguson says they have staged equipment. 
Brad Newton says there was a short meeting with the earth movers and project manager. 
Nate Ferris. 
Will get started on the 23. 
Jake says that Nate is waiting on a couple of things before beginning. 
Once construction starts Judge would like a weekly report from Jake.
Joe Portillo says there are steps being taken for a master roster of people allowed near the site. 
Brad Newton says the PMDD reached a lease/purchase agreement with Herman Acosta and Ismael Lara for a concrete plant. 
Ponton met with Tyron Lewis from TXDOT and some folks from Alpine. Lewis expressed continued support for the port project. 
Meeting with Liz Grindstaff of Texas Pacifico 
Said she had units from Mexico to speed up rail bridge construction.

Communication from Presidio Mayor: concrete plant coming. Visited with Solitaire and expansion is underway.
Jim White says that all this information should, in the future, be funneled through Jake G. Rather than individuals reports. 

Item 6: approval of minutes from last meeting.
Minutes are not ready, County Clerk Pallarez says she is not able to take on this job. White motions to postpone the minutes. Unanimous

Item 7:
Report from port director Jake Giesbrecht.
Written report, oral report information on meeting with State of Chihuahua about coordinating with the farmers to get everything going. 
Positive news from the coordinators. 
New NAFTA negotiations underway and include these people, say things are going Ellie to make this port a very important one for agriculture. 
About ten groups of farmers will be represented , each with their own leader.
Mexican side is ready, enthusiastic. 
New Mexico is building a new port. Cooperating with them, despite being in competition. Sharing data, methods.
Kiki Armedariz, produce broker out of Dallas is getting involved. Getting on same page.
Alberto Morales is in charge of all the ports of entry in Mexico, Jake told him that the Mexican agricultural inspection committee out of Mexico City is not yet involved directly. Put pressure on him. Complicated issue. Looking at doing a joint USDA/Mexican inspection station, on this side of the border. 

Joint inspection facility will help us bypass monopolistic laws from yesteryear still in the books. Will help us in the long term, looks possible. 

Unified inspection program slated for three more locations after the first one is built. 

Lab test facility (punto de verification) is a requirement. Chemical and physical testing in a quick, methodical manner in order for produce to pass.

Ferguson wants to know what the Hangup on this is. Financial? Logistical?
Jake says this is what we really need to deal with. Establishing labs and refrigeration services.
This infrastructure project is not an overnight thing. Bridge has to come in, buyers and sellers organized, them build the gate as the gatekeeper of the enterprise. These are previously somewhat uncharted waters with the USDA.
Jim white says it's hard to go four raccoons up one tree.
Jake says funding from project may come from United produce, international produce company. One stop shop wholesale produce distributor. Finance farmers and market product. Create the contracts.
Already have warehouses at six ports of entry. 
Say that since we have the P3 and 509 they are ready to get involved big time, get it going within months. 

Break at 4:47

Back after break, a little late. 
Appointment of member to board. 
Ponton has that County rep would appoint a member to the board after the term of a member expires. There is specific language regarding the replacement of the seat for Lorenzo Hernandez's term. Board would replace him and term would last until end of his unexpired appointed term. After that, term would end and Presidio County Commissioners Court would appoint a new member. PIPA board can appoint whomever to board for remainder of term. 
Jim White motions to accept Lorenzo Hernandez's resignation. 

Ponton says that appointment does not have to be a Commissioner, merely someone who lives in southern Presidio County. Some confusion and discussion. Ponton says that board should appoint someone today. White and Ferguson agree.
White says he has given this great thought. He thinks that board should appoint Isela Nunez. Jake says he has been approached by three people. Isela, Escontrias, Did not hear the other.
White says her expertise and n import and export is what the board needs. 
Alcee says his concern is that she already misses a lot of council meetings because of work, and he is not sue that's a good thing. Can she be here for meetings? 
Alcee recommends city admin Joe Portillo. White says he's already in the boat, would rather see another person who is not yet involved. 
Ferguson asks as to how much interest the new commissioner will have in these matters. Alcee says that will be part of his job. He needs to learn. 
Ferguson asks Portillo what he can do. Portillo says he is swamped but he will do whatever is needed. He says he will assist with or without the board appointment. 
Wants to defer to the director, Jake,  to what he wants to do. Isela has understanding of international trade law, she would be excellent. 
Judge seconds the motion to appoint Isela. 
White says before vote is done, he wants to know what he thinks. Jake Amy's he works well with her. John F says she is excellent. 
Vote is 3-1 for Isela. Ferguson dissents but peacefully. Yes he is willing to change his vote, wants to be sure she knows he is in support. Makes vote unanimous. 

Jake says that now that it's done he wants to remind the board that PIPA is half County half city. Alcee says that he was pushing for the commissioner since it is the County who is being represented. 

Treasurers Report: 
White says that we have 27,894.59. City of Presidio paid their pledge. Bulls have been sent to Presidio County three or four times. No response. Judge says it's budgeted, will be paid. Gave bill to Treasurer, she will find out what's going on. Sometimes bills are pulled. If so she will find out why.
Owe Jake 1,279.30 reimbursement for travel. Owe salary for Jan feb and March. Would like to pay bills now, including April salary coming due in 14 days. 
Two thousand per month salary.
Approved unanimously.

Item 10- future agenda items. Judge asks Jake. 
Jake would like to meet in a month, bring some people in to present. Judge says after May 22, right Mayor? Laughs.
Mayor says that hat if we need to meet within thirty days we can make it happen, despite runoff election. Asks Jake to set up a date. 
Ponton says that the group offering to finance the hospital in Presidio has expiring tax cuts they need to use. Also have exciting agricultural tax credits rfor ducking costs by twenty percent they are willing to do if PIPA wants them to do it.
Jake says that trying to get everybody together to get plans is the next priority. Need to work on this now. Ferguson says the cold storage facility is exciting. 
Cold storage and corrals in the same area. 
Jake says that cattle export into Mexico seems to be coming along, people are looking to help facilitate that on the Mexico side. 
Judge looks at having meeting following commissioners court in Presidio. Wednesday after Commissioners Court. 
White would like to have the meeting on the twenty fourth. Ponton prefers Wednesday thirtieth.
Meeting set for May thirtieth at eleven thirty AM. Following commissioners court.

Adjourn at five thirty one pm.

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