The State has 61 Port Authorities, and most were formed to assist with economic development projects. Ohio Port Authorities function as an independent unit of local government. They can be comprised of one or more townships, villages, cities, or counties (Ohio Revised Code 4582), and as I shared, operate independently of these political subdivisions (governmental units). The Port Authority Board will consist of leaders from political subdivisions such as attornies, bankers, business executives, university leaders, and non-profits.
In Ohio, the Port Authorities may, or may not, be close to the water and participate in maritime commerce. All of the Port Authorities in Ohio engage in the retention and creation of jobs and community improvement.
The short answer is these Port Authorities perform “activities that enhance, foster, aid, provide, or promote transportation, economic development, housing, recreation, education, governmental operations, culture, or research.” In addition, a Port Authority can own, lease, and finance land, buildings, and equipment for credit-worthy entities.
Finally, the Port Authority can own, lease, and finance land, buildings, and equipment for credit-worthy entities. In addition, due to the structure of a Port Authority, they can provide long-term financing options such as bonds for infrastructure projects, including municipal broadband networks. However, not all Port Authorities have been accommodating to large-scale municipal broadband projects and may require match funds, or some other form of tax revenue, for the project, particularly from a village or small subdivision.
Various forms of COVID relief funding distributed to counties, villages, townships, and so forth have, at times, been pooled to form a larger project endeavor and leverage the relief funds for matching any bonds or municipal debt solutions to pay down the obligation sooner. But, that is not always the case and results in Public-Private-Partnerships being very appealing.
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