The city will receive 10 percent of the Connecticut Port Authority’s share of the revenue from State Pier, and an annual $75,000 fee to defray the cost of police, fire and other city services.
The agreement was announced Wednesday morning by Gov. Ned Lamont, whose office helped negotiate the deal, and city and state officials at a press conference at a packed City Hall. Earlier in the morning, the port authority’s board met and voted to approve the agreement, which guarantees payments to the city for 20 years.
Mayor Michael Passero said the governor delivered on a promise to be a partner with New London, and set the relationship between the port authority and city “on the right path.”
“The agreement today is the beginning of the process to correct some historic inequities that were built into that relationship,” Passero said. “New London will be receiving additional revenue in recognition of its role as the host city for the State Pier.”
The port authority also committed to supporting any proposals to change statute to include the mayor of New London as an ex officio member of its board, which would guarantee that the city has a seat at the table during future discussions surrounding development of State Pier.
On Jan. 7, the port authority announced a 20-year deal with New Haven port operator Gateway to run State Pier, a state-owned facility. The deal drew immediate criticism from Passero, who said he was disappointed there was no guarantee of funding to the city. He also expressed dismay at being sidelined from the negotiations. The Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments backed the city’s bid for a better deal, sending a letter to Lamont asking him to get involved.
Calling the deal a public-private partnership, Lamont said it’s a template for how he’d like to think about development in the state going forward.
Scott Bates, chairman of the port authority’s board, said the deal represents “a new day for New London.”
“Every day you see a ship come into New London, New London gets a piece of the action from that,” Bates said.
The port authority, under the agreement with Gateway, will receive 7 percent of Gateway’s gross annual revenues at State Pier, with a minimum annual guarantee of $500,000. That means the city is guaranteed a minimum of $50,000 annually, in addition to the annual $75,000 fee for municipal services.
The fee for services will increase annually based on the Consumer Price Index. The revenue share minimum will increase to $68,750 after five years, and will continue to grow every five years after that.