The Little Rock Port Authority's board of directors at a meeting on Wednesday authorized a contract with Entergy Arkansas for the utility to adjust power infrastructure at the port in order to make room for new railroad tracks.
Planned railroad extensions to the Trex Co. site and the northern boundary of an anticipated "supersite" will require the Port Authority to have power lines raised, Executive Director Bryan Day told board members.
At the planned "supersite," local officials expect that a major manufacturer or other large-scale enterprise may want to make use of a swath of new acreage at the port that will become available for development once officials remove an aviation navigation beacon in the vicinity.
The agreement for $196,770 is meant to allow Entergy to put in two new power structures and raise the power lines, Day said.
Members of the Little Rock Board of Directors earlier this year appropriated an extra $2 million for the port to finance infrastructure improvements, and funding will be drawn from that allocation, Day said.
No bidding was conducted because Entergy is the port's only power provider, he noted.
Officials expect the Port Authority will be reimbursed with any unspent funding if the final cost is below the contract amount, according to Day.
Board members gave approval in a voice vote without discussion.
Earlier during Wednesday's meeting, Day said officials were working to prepare the budget for 2024 and hoped to have it to board members by mid-October for approval at the November meeting.
The revenue of the Port Authority for the current year likely will end up being $1 million above expenses, something that used to occur prior to the pandemic, Day indicated.
He said, "It's really kind of nice to have that cushion, if you will."
A Port Authority initiative this spring to have food trucks gather during the lunch hours at 7773 Sloane Drive to serve workers in the area of the port is being discontinued, according to Day.
"It just didn't work," he said, attributing it to the heat and the time it took to get food served from the trucks.