Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Redundant Organizations One Poor the Other Rich.    
published 4/29/13

 (ORC) 1724.10 Political designating community improvement corporation (CIC) as agency for development.
A CIC shall promote and encourage the establishment and growth in such subdivision (City) of industrial, commercial, distribution, and research facilities
Wilmington’s CIC was created by city ordinance in February, 1970.
The CIC can only act on city projects.

4582 of the Revised Code of the State of Ohio:  Port authorities can own land, set fees, and levy taxes. They are usually self-sustaining and often operate airports, or shipping terminals. Local governments frequently establish port authorities to promote or support economic development.
Clinton County Port Authority (The Port) was created by the Board of Clinton County Commissioners around 2005. The Port can act on city and countywide projects.
The CIC was created by city council in February of 1970. The primary mission was to obtain title by purchase to the closing Clinton County Air Force Base even though the base was not located within the city limits. The mission was accomplished and the Air Base went from a tax-exempt property to a property tax paying entity. The CIC then went into the real estate business selling and buying land on and adjacent to the former base.
Over the ensuing years the CIC has become a cash and real property heavy organization without a real city development mission.  The assets of the corporation are held in low interest CDs and real property holdings. Operating expenses and some minor contributions to The Port and the JUMP hangar projects is causing the total value of assets to decline. Total value was $2,844,73
at the end of 2009 and had decreased to $2,457,312 at the end of 2011.
Some members of the CIC Board of Directors include. Jan Claibourne, Bob Holmes (Chairman), David Hockaday (county employee and Chairman of The Port Board), John Limbert (former Chairman of The Port Board, Mayor Randy Riley, former Mayor Nick Eveland and former Mayor David Raizk ( executive director designate). The director position compensation was $26,000 in 2011.
In spite of being considered a public entity the CIC does not announce its meeting time or place. I was unable to obtain the 2012 financial statement at the time of this posting.
The Port
The Port was established at the time of DHL’s expansion at the Air Park in order to obtain underwriter fees from bond sales. A court decided that the Montgomery County Port would be the soul beneficiary of that multimillion-dollar issue. The court also decided that The Clinton County Port would be the authority for all future Clinton County activity. The Port was quiet for a few years and went almost unnoticed locally.
When DLH pulled out The Port was designated to accept the donation of the Air Park and all the costs of maintaining a near empty industrial site. Some, including this writer, was of the opinion that DHL should first make the site economically self-sustaining before the County’s Port took on the financial burden of such a huge enterprise.
In 2010 The Port took possession of the property and within a year and a half started to reduce the $1.5 million property tax payments by a combination of reevaluations and exemptions. By the end of 2011 the tax bill was reduced to $250 thousand. As a result Wilmington schools, already hard hit by the recession, lost $650,000 per year. Other revenue recipients including the city and county lost around $600,000. Another and less obvious problem was that, due to tax levy adjustments, commercial/industrial property tax rates increased by five mills without a vote.
The Port struggles on. At the end of the first quarter of 2013 the financial statement states, that to date, revenue is 7.2% below expected while expenses were 22% above budget prediction.

The Port Board of Directors meets in the Administration building a 9:00 AM on the second Thursday of each month. A public question and comment period follows the open meeting.
The Port Board members are David Hockaday (Chaiman & County employee), Bill Marine (former chairman), Brian Smith, Fred Ertel (county employee), Ed Kuehn, Ron Rudduck, Kathleen Madison and Jim Reynolds. Kevin Carver is the Executive Director and is assisted by Beth Huber. The budgeted combined employee compensation cost is $321,000.
Paul Hunter 

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