How can we have a Port Authority when we don’t have a port?

I was at our quarterly entrepreneurship & idea exchange happy hour, enjoying a locally brewed raz wheat beer, exchanging ideas, making connections and meeting new clients. One new client in particular introduced himself, who he is (I’ll call him Frank for the purpose of this post), what he does…ect. So, I introduced myself  to Frank and briefly listed the many professional hats i wear.   When I ended my 2 minute elevator speech with…..”and I serve as the Secretary for the Athens County Port Authority”,  Frank had a reaction that many before him have had.  “Pardon me”, Frank said in a very polite manner, “but how do we have a Port Authority when we have no port”? I have been asked this question so many times that you would think I might have a quick answer ready to go.  So I went on to explain to Frank that the Ohio revised code does not require a “port” to establish a Port Authority and that as a quasi-public entity the Port Authority has powers and abilities that other entities do not have such as:

  • levy taxes in a voted levy
  • borrow in anticipation of a voted levy
  • sell property on behalf of a county/city/township
  • loan money
  • issue un-voted revenue bonds

…to name a few.

These are all very valuable economic development tools that can be leveraged to move projects that have public value forward. Frank seemed a bit lost as to where I was going with this….so I said ” think of the Athens County Port Authority as a “port” to economic development projects”. Simply stated, the Port Authority has many of the tools we need to help companies in the area grow and expand.  “Wow”, said Frank, “I had no idea”.

We are so lucky in Athens County that we have a Port Authority that is firmly committed to facilitating economic growth in our region.  For more information about the Athens County Port Authority check out this link:

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