The county’s port authority was established in 2011. It wasn’t until recently that the five member board was chosen to activate the board on a regular basis after being dormant for two years.
The county does things differently than the City Commissioners when choosing members to be appointed to a board. The City Commissioners invite the public to submit their names and then the commissioners would appoint from the submitted names so it doesn’t take on the appearance that they were hand-picked. There didn’t seem to be any notices posted for selection of the port’s board members. I understand that the members needed to have a certain background in business; however, there are many talented people who could have volunteered for the positions.
Where is the seed money coming from to support the port’s loans and the director’s salary when the county’s budget has been restrained? The county had to increase the sales tax just to gain revenue. Is it a coincidence that the port authority was activated right after raising the sales tax? The county has funded about $7,000 of its own money into the port authority, but more money will be needed for a fully functioning port. As yet, the county has not informed the public where the finances will be coming from to support the port, especially, when the port authority might be expected to support a $90 million runway at NASA.
A port director has been hired on an hourly basis but no contract has been executed as yet. The director will be serving other port authorities, so it looks like the county will be sharing the position for now.
Until next week, it remains to be seen what achievements the port hopes to accomplish and how much it will all cost the taxpayer to get started.