Mon. Jul 4th, 2022

By Samuel Strait – Reporter at Large – January 6, 2022

While “Eye On Del Norte” has been keeping us up to date with the
recent troubles that are occurring down at the harbor, dredging, the RV
parks, and perhaps a future test to revoke the harbor’s two percent dip
into the bed tax.  The fact that the harbor district’s problems do not
end with a change in leadership, or their testy relationship with the
public.   The much touted solar panel project has run into a few speed
bumps along the way.  Hopefully the landing fees were adequate this crab
season, as it seems that the harbor is headed right back into red
territory with their profligate spending that centers around their
association with Alex Lemus of Renewable Energy Capital.

Not only has his contribution to land redevelopment stirred up a
hornet’s nest at the harbor owned RV parks, but his ADE-Crescent City
LLC seems to be in some financial difficulty.  The company owes the
harbor district nearly $300,000 in an up front leasing arrangement for
twenty five years.  Now barely into the arrangement with ADE, “cash
flow” issues have made the company unable to honor the agreement.  In
addition, the harbor was projected to save $70,000 in electricity costs
from using the solar grid.  Earlier the the district’s commission was
told that the savings was not as generous as projected coming in at
$35,000 without factoring in the heavy power usage of the harbor’s
freezers which likely wiped out much of that savings during overcast
winter conditions in Del Norte County.  Welcome to well thought out
decision making from the Commission.  Fortunately the harbor isn’t on
the hook for the Solar Panel’s construction costs, that is all ADE’s
problem.  Yet it does call into question whether or not ADE will be able
to properly maintain its project and whether or not the harbor is going
to be on the hook for the Solar Panel Project if ADE goes under from
“cash flow” problems.

Looks like that is something “Eye On Del Norte ” might want to keep
track of in the future.  In the meantime, Lemus is proposing a way for
REC to assume the $288,000 ADE debt from the Solar Project lease in his
redevelopment project.  Kind of looks like a “rob Mary to pay Paul” kind
of scheme.  In any event the new REC redevelopment plan calls for more
leasing of harbor property in which the harbor is hoping that the ADE
debt will be paid.  The development phase I is according to Lemus going
to require a $10 million dollar investment and who knows how much more
as the project unfolds.  Due to the risky nature of what Lemus is
proposing and the problems with ADE, of which Lemus is a managing
partner, might it be in the harbor’s best interest to do a bit of due
diligence.  Likely not even considered by the harbor’s “brain trust”.

In any event, it is probably safe to say that sound decision making and
due diligence is not one of the forte’s of the current harbor commission
and it’s hired harbor master, both current and past.  One can only hope
that further disasters are not generated in the future.  Except past
experience is a mighty good predictor of the future.  Harbor dredging
anyone?

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