Houston County Commissioners still not sure about biomass facility donation

Houston County Commissioners still not sure about biomass facility donation
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

CROCKETT, TX (KTRE) - The Houston County commissioners Court is still unsure how to handle a possible donation of the former Zilkha plant to the county.

The commissioners tackled the issue Tuesday morning but decided to table it. The Houston based company brought the offer to the county after the city of Crockett turned down a similar deal according to County Judge Jim Lovell.

The plant which was built in 2010  served as a demonstration facility for their patented technology of waterproof wood pellets that are used in Europe and Japan as a substitute for coal. The company announced it was closing the plant in June.

Lovell said if the county was to accept the offer it would be taken off of the tax roll. It is estimated that the facility owes over $200,000 in state and local taxes.

"This would be precedent for us," Lovell said. "If we did this then it would send a message that companies could owe taxes and shut down then go and donate the building to get out of it."

Lovell said there are also other factors.

"Well our main concern was first it may be a liability," Lovell said. "We need to investigate and see if there is anything that needs cleaning up environmental wise. We just don't know enough right now."

Lovell said it could be useful to the county if they moved forward with the deal in the future.

"There are several possibilities," Lovell said. "We could sale it to some new industry moving in. We could create a rail spur if there wasn't one for us to be able to save on a lot of freight for road materials for commissioners and rail it in cheaper then we can truck it. it is early. We just weren't ready."

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