Amite County School Board Lease Bids
There were three Amite County school sections, roughly 1,900 acres, set for bidding for oil and gas mineral leases back in mid September.
These leases appeared to be in the prime area of the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale. That is, these sections were in the southeastern portion of Amite County. When these leases were advertised originally, a 20% royalty requirement was set.
On the eve of opening these bids, the Mississippi Secretary of State, Delbert Hosemann, put a quietus on the proceedings.
Further, the edict was to return any bids given without opening the envelopes. That way, I suppose, no one would know exactly how much was lost...ummm...bid.
Three bids were received in September, I'm told.
One was from EnCana.
One was from Sanchez.
One was from an independent.
All were unopened.
Now, we don't know what these bids were, but just a few months earlier, in February, a bid was made on a similarly situated section for $1,875.
If we assume this same price on these three sections, $1,875 bid for 1,900 acres, then the Amite County School District was set to receive approximately $3.5 million dollars for leases in September.
Instead, the leases were rebid with a 25% royalty requirement.
Note that the Amite County schools cannot spend any money earned from royalty income while it can spend monies earned from lease payment.
Please further note that most of us local folks weren't impressed at the time with the interference offered from our illustrious Secretary of State, Delbert Hosemann. We believed it was best to get as much up front as possible in order to educate the children of Amite County and keep our taxes low.
Naturally, with a higher royalty burden, the bids would be less.
But, no one anticipated the bids being quite this low.
On Thursday evening when the call was made for all bids on oil leases, no bids were submitted.
Or, roughly $3,500,000 less than would have been received two months earlier.
Thank you, Delbert Hosemann for providing your wisdom and input into the affairs of Amite County.
Perhaps the voting taxpayers and parents of public school children of Amite County will remember your input the next time you run for public office.