Port Royal Mayor Sam Murray intends drive to Charleston and Columbia during the next two weeks so he can look state officials in the eye when they vote on a contract for the possible sale of the Port of Port Royal.
"I want them to see us and know we're watching every step they take," he said.
Scott Hawkins, a spokesman for the S.C. Budget and Control Board, said a special meeting has been scheduled for 10 a.m. Nov. 26 to consider approval of the sale of the property by the S.C. State Ports Authority. The authority's next regularly scheduled meeting is Dec. 9.
Budget and Control Board action depends, however, on whether the Ports Authority approves and passes along a contract for consideration.
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The Ports Authority's regular monthly meeting is typically the third Wednesday or Thursday of the month, which are next week but an agenda has not been released.
Authority spokeswoman Erin Dhand said the agenda will be released when finalized, likely at the end of this week.
State law mandates a sales process that includes approval by the Ports Authority and then the South Carolina Budget and Control Board.
The port has been vacant since 2004, when it was deemed too expensive to operate. The authority was ordered to sell the land, but three attempts since 2006 have fallen through.
At least four offers have been made on part or all of the 317-acre property. The Furman Co., which made one of those offers, is still in discussions with authority officials. Company president Steve Navarro directed all questions to the Ports Authority.
The property was reappraised, as mandated by legislation, this summer. The appraisal value, the appraisal documents or past appraisals have not been released by the Ports Authority.
After a spring 2013 appraisal, the land was marketed for $22.5 million.
"This is very good news, in particular because this purchaser, unlike prior would-be-purchases, is well capitalized," said state Sen. Tom Davis, R-Beaufort, of the latest offer. Davis would not name the would-be purchaser but said he's made inquiries into its experience and capitalization. "That's important given the tight credit market for large-scale acquisition and development projects," he said.
As one of the authors of legislation intended to hasten a sale, Davis also said he was pleased to see a "sense of urgency."
Along with Murray, Port Royal town manager Van Willis said he'll be attending the public meetings related to the latest contract proposal.
Councilman Joe Lee, however, said his enthusiasm is tempered by the four trips he's made to Columbia in the last decade when he expected the Budget and Control Board to vote on other potential contracts.
Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.
- Developer, business owners file lawsuit against SC Ports Authority, Nov. 2, 2014
- Potential buyers for Port of Port Royal say they've met resistance, Oct. 16, 2014
- Ports Authority releases information on appraisers, mum on appraisal for Port Royal, Sept. 28, 2014
- Authority quiet about negotiations with potential Port of Port Royal buyer, Sept. 12, 2014