Intermoor moving to Morgan City; promises 500 jobs over 5 years

James Joseph Whitney Sr.
September 15, 2009
Genevieve D. Carlos
September 17, 2009
James Joseph Whitney Sr.
September 15, 2009
Genevieve D. Carlos
September 17, 2009

St. Mary Parish state lawmakers announced a deal keeping a Texas-bound oil industry-related company in the parish, saving 212 local jobs.

Intermoor of Amelia will, however, relocate its operation to Morgan City, bringing with it 212 high-value jobs and a commitment to increase its workforce to 500 over the next five years, according to state Reps. Joe Harrison (R-Labadieville) and Sam Jones (D-Franklin).

The move comes in the wake of a $6.7 million grant from the state Department of Transportation and Development and a $1.5 million grant from the Louisiana Economic Development Corporation.

Harrison and Jones announced the move at Thursday’s St. Mary Parish Council meeting. The two said state Sen. Butch Gautreaux (D-Morgan City) helped with the deal.

“They were on their way out of the door to Houston, jobs and all,” Jones said. “The Port of Morgan City will sponsor the project that will move the business to Morgan City.”

A groundbreaking ceremony is slated to be held in two weeks at Intermoor’s new site, Harrison said.

In other business, Harrison voiced his staunch disapproval of the state’s pending contract with New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson to rent Dominion Towers in New Orleans.

“I have told the governor that the rest of this state needs to progress just as much as anybody else,” Harrison told the council. “Frankly, our area – the Terrebonne, Lafourche and St. Mary triangle – has been noted as the quickest growing economy in the nation. So our fair share of state help needs to come to us.

“Then, with all of this help and aid to the Saints, there still leaves in question and doubt the future of the state’s charity hospital systems. This still has yet to be determined,” he added.

A longtime advocate of local business, Harrison said he is working to tighten inspections on foreign shrimp.

Last year, 143 million pounds of Louisiana shrimp was sold in the U.S., he said. But the nation experienced a glut of imports – 1.6 billion pounds.

“We need quality control inspections of imports. Everyone needs to play by the same rules,” Harrison said. “We’re giving away our country and we’re not protecting our economy. We need to no longer allow inferior imports to come into this country.”

Harrison and his fellow lawmakers are also monitoring education and the impact of cuts to the state’s school budget on Louisiana’s workforce.

“Going against higher education and health care is difficult as far as who and what do you cut,” he said. “We are trying to change the way we do business in Louisiana, and I feel education is economic development because it is the only way we will have an educated workforce in the state to attract business to our parish. That is what we were working for.”

In other council business, a 15-percent rate hike was approved for annual pass holders who use the Atchafalaya at Idlewild Golf Course in Patterson.

The new increases take effect Oct. 1.

Golf Course Commission Chariman Rudy Sparks said that although pass-holder fees are increasing, regular-user rates for the 2009-10 fiscal year will remain the same.

The rate-hike vote came shortly after the golf course’s 2009-10 budget was approved. The course’s projected income for the coming year is $1.581 million, while expenses are expected to run at $1.4 million.

In addition, supplies costs and maintaining the pro shop inventory is projected to be $137,000.

Among the expenses Atchafalaya at Idlewild is expected to incur include $760,000 for grounds maintenance; $220,000 for general administration; $300,000 for the Golfstar course GPS system; and $160,000 for cart leases

Sparks said the new budget cuts expenses by $45,000 from last year’s figures. The previous year’s budget included a $467,000 cuts – $250,000 of which was generated by leasing clubhouse operations, including the restaurant, to KFGL of Lafayette.

Sparks said KFGL is responsible for paying half the course’s utility cost and maintaining the furnishings. Today, the restaurant is realizing almost $100,000 monthly in gross sales, 2 percent of which is returned to the commission for rent, he said.