What is the purpose for a port authority agreement?
Erie County’s port authority would like to have the cities in Erie County sign a cooperative agreement with the port. Sandusky should hold the signature until the commissioners fully understand what kind of cooperation the city is required to hand over to the port. The agreement does not define how cooperative the city needs to be. Does the city understand how a financial port operates and what are the advantages and disadvantages for cities cooperating with such an agreement?
The following are questions that should be asked before signing the agreement:
Why is it necessary for Sandusky to sign an agreement with the Port Authority? Sandusky should have the right to pick and choose what business it will direct to the port.
What happens to tax abatements and TIF arrangements? Would those revenues go into the pockets of the port instead of to the city?
How does the school system figure into the port agreement and the development contracts when doing TIF arrangements?
What is the incentive or benefit for the city to sign the agreement?
Will the city receive some kind of percentage for referrals to the port?
Would the port do the hiring for outside attorneys and consultants to take care of the bonding so the city wouldn’t have to expend the cost for those services?
Who guarantees the bonding if the developer should go into default?
How does the city’s Revolving Loan Fund figure into the port authority deals with developers?
Until next week, the port will always be at the disposal of the city whether the city signs or not. The city should stay flexible and responsible for revenues that belong to the city and not to the port.