After months of working with a businessman who wanted to bring a jellyfish and seafood operation to the Port Royal shrimp docks, Town Council has decided to go with an "alternate plan."
The jellyfish operation is not a part of the $5-million budget for fiscal 2014 council approved unanimously Wednesday night.
Town manager Van Willis instead added about $20,000 for equipment the docks need and an undetermined amount to hire someone to manage them. He called it the town's "alternate plan."
Local shrimpers would continue to unload their catches at the dock. The town is also considering some sort of packing operation, Willis said.
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He did not name the person he wants to manaage the docks, but said the candidate has local experience and a good reputation.
The docks have been a financial drain on the town since it took over their operation in 2009. Port Royal leases them from the S.C. State Ports Authority.
Council members had considered a deal proposed by Steven Giese, a representative of Millenarian Trading Co., as a possible lifeline.
But when a history of bankruptcies and allegations of bad business dealings with shrimpers in Florida emerged two weeks ago, council attitudes cooled.
Council members told Giese last week that he must provide information on seven items, including lists of permits and equipment needed for the operation as well as construction plans.
The most important items, they said, were proof of insurance, proof of a surety or performance bond that would pay the town if the company didn't meet its obligations , and an indemnity agreement that would hold the town and the S.C. State Ports Authority blameless if the venture failed
Giese said then he hoped to have those answers by this week.
Despite discussions with Willis earlier in the day, Giese did not attend the meeting Wednesday night when council began discussing the alternative plan.