Avard Rail Authority happy with numbers

Members of the Avard Regional Rail Park Authority met Tuesday evening at Northwest Technology Center to learn that June was a really good month financially. Income for the month was $82,000 with $80,000 of it from rail car charges when the Avard site was used to unload 60 miles of pipe.

Things will slow down in July. Todd Holder said only one train is scheduled to come in for Martin-Marietta.

The board made an offer to Venture Corporation to locate a more permanent hot asphalt facility in the rail park rather than the temporary facilities they construct near road projects. Typically, the firm makes an offer to a farmer to use part of his land for a while to build an asphalt plant to supply hot asphalt for road projects. The rail park authority would like to see Venture use the Avard Rail Park as a more central location. The advantage to Venture would be less expensive in building and tearing down temporary plants.

Since Venture supplies many raw materials for the Department of Transporation, the Avard Rail Park board would like to convince Venture to buy materials from Martin-Marietta, also located at the rail park, and it would be win-win for everyone. Venture needs to find a location by Aug. 1, so the Avard authority approved their side of a proposed lease so that Venture only needs to approve their side to put the plan in progress. The proposed rent would be $25,000 per year.

A new topographical survey by Circuit Engineering 8 was approved. The bill was $2,000 less than original quote of $25,615. The board was concerned with unmarked buried water and gas lines that were not on an older map.

The board made a public statement praising Randy McMurphy, commissioner, and Sonja Williams, secretary, for the excellent work they have been doing. McMurphy responded, “Don't forget to thank the other commissioners, too. They have been very helpful.”

Rail maintenance has been completed and several tons of rock that had fallen between rail tracks have been removed. Also, weed spraying has been completed at a cost of $900.

Member Ed Sutter said the public needs to know that when this Avard Rail Project started, they were over $4 million in debt. Now, the debt has been paid down to $884,00.

Another money problem was discussed. The authority has an account balance ($378,000) at BancCentral that exceeds the $250,000 FDIC insurance limit. They could ask the bank for some type of collateral for the excess, but Holder was in favor of leaving the matter as is since BancCentral is healthy and has cooperated with them quite well. Sutter made a motion to discuss the issue at next month's meeting.

The board is resigned to losing an account receivable balance of $14,499 due from Chaparral Drilling Fluids. The firm, a Sandridge subsidiary, has filed for bankruptcy. The board hopes to utilize the space previously occupied by Chaparral for the Venture Corp. proposal.


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