Leavenworth County commissioners are asking officials with the city of Leavenworth to share in the funding of an economic development organization.

Leavenworth County commissioners are asking officials with the city of Leavenworth to share in the funding of an economic development organization.

When they met Tuesday, county commissioners reached a consensus to have County Administrator Mark Loughry contact city officials about providing half the funding for the Leavenworth County Port Authority for the current year.

The Port Authority has a five-member Board of Directors. Members of the board traditionally have been appointed by the Leavenworth County Commission and Leavenworth City Commission.

Currently, there is a vacancy on the board with the retirement of one member, and another member is due for a reappointment for another term.

While researching an agreement that established the Port Authority, Loughry learned that the document calls for county and city governments to equally provide funding for the organization.

During Tuesday's meeting, County Commissioner Louis Klemp asked if the county should redo the agreement.

Loughry said it would be appropriate to ask the city to provide its share of funding per the agreement for 2019.

Klemp asked Loughry to determine the date of the last the time the city of Leavenworth provided funding to the Port Authority.

Loughry said he had reviewed funding for the last 10 years, and only the county provided funding during these years.

Klemp argued that the city needs to participate in the funding in order to make appointments to the Port Authority's board.

He said city officials can choose to pay funding for the current year or the amount of money the city should have paid over the years.

“I know they've got a lot of money,” Klemp said.

Last week, county commissioners voted to provide $204,500 in funding to the Port Authority for 2018.

Loughry said he thinks it is unfair to ask the city to provide half of this funding for 2018 because city commissioners did not participate in the budget approval process for this year.

“I don't know that it's fair to the city,” he said.

Loughry said the city government already has set its budget for 2018.

“It's done for 2018,” County Commission Chairman Doug Smith said. “That's my opinion.”

Commissioner Bob Holland questioned why the county does not set up its own economic development department.

Loughry said the county could fund its own economic development department with the money it provides to the Port Authority and Leavenworth County Development Corporation.

Loughry asked if Klemp's request for the city to provide funding for the Port Authority for the current year was the consensus of the board.

Holland nodded.

“I would say you can ask, but to me, it's done,” Smith said.

Loughry said he will let city officials know that if they want to participate in appointing board members to the Port Authority, they should give funding that is equal to what the county provides.

When contacted after the meeting, Leavenworth City Manager Paul Kramer said he was not planning to bring the issue to the City Commission.

Kramer said he received notification of the County Commission's discussion on the issue, but he had not received what he considered a formal request for funding.

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