PASCAGOULA, Mississippi — Jackson County supervisors will borrow $24 million for the local port's wood pellet facility.
The terminal at the Port of Pascagoula will handle wood pellets from a plant that is supposed to be built in George County starting in late 2014.
Count officials said Monday the terminal won't be built until Florida-based Green Circle Bio Energy starts the $115 million plant.
Wood pellets are rabbit-food sized pieces of wood used in Europe as a source of clean electricity.
"The resolution announces their intent to issue the bonds," said port director Mark McAndrews. "Now there's three weeks of public notice, then public meeting and during that time public comment will be solicited."
McAndrews said the exporting facility is expected to cost about $30 million, with $15 million coming from port bonds. The state has put up $10 million for the project, and the terminal operator will invest $5 million.
An additional $14 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation will also work in conjunction with the project for intermodal improvements.
Instead of asking for $15 million in bonds, the port is asking for permission to borrow up to $24 million for the project, McAndrews said, to give the project a cushion in case additional modifications to the wharf are needed.
"We really haven't completed the engineering design yet, so there could be some costs above the $15 million," he said, noting the $24 million max is "on the real high side."
The port isn't going to issue any more that it needs, he said.
The exporting facility will look similar to a grain elevator or bulk commodities facility, with silo storage facilities, an unloading facility for trucks and rail cars and a conveyor delivery system to the ship loader, McAndrews has said.
The goal is to export up to 500,000 tons of pellets per year overseas.