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Director Says Regional Port Authority Of Northwest Ohio Is A Development Tool




The Regional Port Authority of Northwest Ohio is an effective tool for economic development.

That’s what Jerry Arkebauer, director, told members of the Archbold Area Chamber of Commerce during the group’s Monday, Dec. 8, noon luncheon.

“It’s a helpful tool, but not the only tool,” Arkebauer said.

Port authorities were originally created in 1955 to promote maritime commerce. Toledo had the first.

Over the years, the role of port authorities was broadened to include a wide variety of economic development efforts.

Port authorities can help with the financing of development project through the sale of revenue bonds. He emphasized that no public taxpayer money is used to fund the bonds.

The bonds are purchased by individual investors, and backed either by a letter of credit from a bank or based on the strength of the company.

Port authorities can levy real estate taxes, but only with voter approval, and have the power of eminent domain.

Port authorities earn their revenue based on fees charged for economic development projects they put together.

No Sales Tax

One unique aspect of a port authority is it can own property for any authorized purpose, and the list of authorized purposes is written broadly.

As a result, a port authority may construct a factory building for a business, then the business can lease that building from the port authority.

Because the building is being built by a government entity, Arkebauer said contractors have to pay employees a higher wage, known as a prevailing wage.

But, at the same time, there’s no sales tax on building materials purchased; so a construction project taken on by a port authority can realize 7% savings.

Arkebauer showed several examples of projects done by port authorities around Ohio, including some done by the Toledo Lucas County Port Authority.

Arkebauer was with the Toledo Lucas County Port Authority. Over 20 years, he completed 87 bond issues, raising nearly $1 billion, which helped create or retain about 11,500 jobs.

RPANWO

The Regional Port Authority of Northwest Ohio is unique, Arkebauer said, because it’s one of only two port authorities in Ohio that cover more than one county.

The RPANWO covers the four-county area of Fulton, Defi ance, Henry, and Williams.

One of the Fulton County representatives on the port authority board is David Lersch, rural Archbold.

He said a port authority can assist in any project involving $1.5 million or more in land, buildings, or equipment.


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