Economic Development

Second Crane to ‘Be Up and Running’ in Wellsville

EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio – The long-awaited second overhead crane and conveyor system at the Wellsville Intermodal Facility will begin operating by Friday, the interim executive director of the Columbiana County Port Authority, Diane L. Ksiazek, informed her board Monday night.

Ksiazek reported that the crane, built in Finland, is assembled “and will be up and operating by the end of the week.”

The board approved a lease-purchase agreement with TCF Equipment Finance Co., a division of TCF National Bank based in Minnetonka, Minn., to finance the balance of what’s owed on the $4 million crane project, the 120 monthly payments of $5,640.37 to come from fees Pier 48 Stevedoring LLC will pay to operate the crane and conveyor system.

The board approved the sale of the Louthan property, Harvey Avenue, where the Ferro Building sits, to Pyramid Real Estate Co. LLC, Lisbon, for $350,000.

And the board set a maximum fee of $5,000 to M.P. Boland & Associates, Dayton, to conduct a national search for a permanent executive director, its efforts to begin the first of the year and take somewhere between 60 and 90 days, board Chairman Charles Presley said. The board continues to draft a job description.

The director of economic development for Columbiana County, Tad Herold, took his seat as the newest member of the five-person board of directors and was named fiscal officer. He succeeds Penny Traina, who resigned last month and had served as fiscal officer.

The operation of the second crane, Presley noted, will allow Pier 48 to load or unload two barges at the same time at the Wellsville industrial park, easing the burden on the original 60-ton crane there.

Pier 48 will hire “at least two more” employees to run the cranes, he said.

The port authority holds title to the crane, having made a down payment of $800,000 on the purchase price of $1.366 million, leaving $566,000 to be financed over 10 years.

State grants of $2.75 million paid for the installation and infrastructure needed on the $4 million project, which grew costlier as the port authority found itself taking longer than expected to line up the financing at the original projected figure.

The sale of the Ferro Building, Brian Kennedy said, has resulted from the port authority not using the building as projected. Only two tenants remain.

The board determined it was unlikely to sell the property for even $500,000 as it steadily reduced the asking price of the property.

Larry Petrozzi, principal of Pyramid Oil Field Services LLC and Pyramid Real Estate LLC, secured limited liability status Oct. 15 for the former and will use the building to house his oil field service operations.

Petrozzi entered into a land contract with the port authority, making a down payment of $35,000 and agreeing to pay the balance over five years at 4.5% interest. He agrees to pay $2,409.73 on the 10th of each month, beginning Jan. 10, 2016. This will require a balloon payment of $232,513.11 the December 2021, Ksiazek and Presley noted.

When he moves on to the property, Petrozzi will bring with him 18 Pyramid Oil Filed Services employees “immediately,” Ksiazek noted, and the promise of “substantially more in the first two years.”

Presley’s experience with M.P. Boland led him to recommend the firm to the board, he said afterward. It has recruited executives almost entirely for the private sector and its search for executive director of a port authority will be its first such assignment.

The port authority will pay all other expenses, such as advertising, in the search for a successor to Tracy Drake, whose contract expired Sept. 30.

While the board anticipates a new executive director will be found by March 31, it doesn’t feel bound to that date should the search takes longer, Presley said. Boland will not be paid more than $5,000.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.