September 24, 2014

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LORAIN PORT AUTHORITY

Renewal preserves riverside festivals

Issue 31
What: A 1-mill renewal
Duration: Five years
Raises: $960,000 annually
Purpose: To run the Port Authority
Cost: The owner of a $100,000 home will continue to pay $26.87 a year

Alicia Castelli
The Chronicle-Telegram

LORAIN — Residents are being asked to renew a 1-mill levy to keep the Lorain Port Authority in the black and keep Lorain’s festivals on the agenda for 2010.
Director Richard Novak said the levy raises about $960,000 annually, which is used to run the port and as matching funds.
“We use it for operations for the organization,” Novak said. “But we also use the funds to match federal and state dollars to attract grants.”
The port received several grants in 2009, but Novak doesn’t want residents to think those grants pay for everything. The port must come up with money of its own in order to get those grants in the first place.
“There is a misconception about the grants,” Novak said. “Let’s say we have $3.3 million in stimulus money that we attract for the dike disposal site area. That cannot be used for administrative costs. That only goes toward the physical project. We still have to pay for property management, insurance, lighting and staff costs — the same as anyone else.”
The levy has been in place for nearly 20 years, Novak said. Losing that money would bring things at Black River Landing, for example, to a screeching halt.
“There would be some drastic cuts at the Port Authority,” he said. “We would not be able to do things like bring the Jet Express here and the nature tours and the festivals. Our economic development programs would come to a halt, so we wouldn’t have the ability to assist businesses and industries. The festivals would cease. We would not be able to do those because we would not have the funds available.”
Novak said since this levy is a renewal and not new money, he’s confident the residents will continue to support it.
“We feel that we’ve worked well with the community,” he said. “We’ve had lots of support throughout the years. We’ve tried hard to promote the waterfront over the years, and I hope the residents will support it.”
Contact Alicia Castelli at 329-7144 or acastelli@chroniclet.com.