Coshocton Port Authority Function
The Coshocton Port Authority is a city and county public agency created to support efforts that lead to job creation and retention in Coshocton County.
Q: What is a port authority?
A: In Ohio, port authorities are government entities created by political subdivisions under Ohio Revised Code Section 4582 Port authorities were historically created to administer maritime activities, but have evolved into a tool to assist community's foster economic development across the state. Ohio's port authorities have special status that allows them to contribute to large-scale economic development projects through both public and private financing.
Q: What do port authorities do?
A: Ohio law provides for port authorities to construct facilities, issue bonds, make loans, and sell or buy real and personal property. Port authorities also possess many powers similar to other local governments in Ohio. In Ohio, port authorities' functions include operating airports, river ports, and lake ports; owning railroad lines; developing industrial and commercial property; owning and operating special facilities including a former Air Force base, a downtown theater, and parks; managing foreign trade zones; serving as sources of bond financing for intergovernmental, civic, non-profit, and commercial development projects; and administering community and economic development programs. In other states, port authorities run the gamut from those that own high-rise office towers to those that operate mass transit systems. The Coshocton Port Authority is a city and county public agency created to support efforts that lead to job creation and retention in Coshocton County. The Port Authority’s focus includes supporting and advocating local, state, and federal public policies that positively impact economic growth. The scope of its services includes efforts that have a positive effect on job creation and retention, workforce development, education, transportation and health care for the residents of Coshocton County.
Q: What can a port authority do that other government entities cannot?
A: One key function a port authority can perform that a city cannot is the sale and lease of publicly-owned property. In most cases, municipalities and counties must sell or lease through public bid. Port authorities are specifically exempted from this requirement and can be a conduit for sale of excess government property for the benefit of economic development. Port authorities are also able to perform functions across jurisdictions, thus serving as a conduit for intergovernmental agreements and functions.
Q: Do port authorities receive government subsidy?
A: Some port authorities do receive subsidy, though many do not. Port authorities are able to receive an appropriation and expend public funds. Many port authorities are supported by fees or leases on port authority facilities. Ohio law permits port authorities to levy a property tax when voted in by the voters within the port authority's jurisdiction.
Q: Are port authorities exempt from taxes?
A: Like other governmental entities, port authority net incomes and port authority property used for government functions are tax exempt. However, facilities leased for commercial purposes are fully taxable.
Q: Can a port authority raise residential or business taxes?
A: No, the port authority has no power to levy tax.
Q: Will the port authority have the ability to grant tax exemptions?
A: By Ohio law, the port authority has no impact on tax exemptions. These decisions remain the responsibility of local jurisdictions. Local governments and school districts will actually benefit from the port authority as economic development occurs.
Q: Who oversees port authorities? A: Port authorities fall under a variety of checks and balances. For one, the political subdivisions that create the port authorities are responsible for appointing the board members of the port authority and have the power to change a port authority's charter. Additionally, the Auditor of State is responsible for auditing port authorities and publishing audit findings every two years. Finally, the records of port authorities are treated as public records (except certain confidential business data) and port authority board meetings are made open to the public under Ohio's “Open Meetings Act.” The Coshocton Port Authority is overseen by an Executive Director, with the help of an Executive Assistant. There is a Board of Directors made up of seven members, including the Executive Director.