On the Port Authority’s side, the Ohio Revised Code requires a special loan fund be created, said Executive Director Sean Ratican. Once bylaws are adopted for the fund, it would be stocked with cash from the authority’s general fund.
Conneaut attorney Nicholas Iarocci, who is an authority member, said he reviewed the request and “has some real questions about it.”
“I support Growth Partnership and I support what they do, but I’m not quite sure the port authority should be the one to loan them these funds. I’m not sure it is appropriate,” he said.
Selip and member George Csepegi supported the authority becoming a member.
“We need to do economic development; we should have done it before,” Selip said.
“I think we really should belong to it, do anything we can to keep the organization healthy,” Csepegi said. “We need it in the county.”
However, authority President Rob Schimmelpfennig questioned whether the Port authority should join since the county already purchases three memberships.
Strayer said the partnership has about 50 trustees.
Specific terms of the loan agreement have not been worked out, but the discussion suggests there would be an annual principal plus interest payment. At the onset of the loan, the interest would be slightly more than the membership fee. Schimmelpfennig said the cash held by the authority is not making much in way of interest from the bank; a proposed budget for 2013 plans on the board receiving only $330 in interest on its deposits.
The authority requested that Schimmelpfennig obtain financial projections and other data from the partnership before the December meeting.