When Leavenworth County commissioners meet Tuesday, they will be discussing funding for the Leavenworth County Port Authority.

When Leavenworth County commissioners meet Tuesday, they will be discussing funding for the Leavenworth County Port Authority.

The county government is the primary funding source for the Leavenworth County Port Authority.

The Port Authority is an economic development organization. Members of the Port Authority's Board of Directors are appointed by the Leavenworth County Commission and Leavenworth City Commission.

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

County Administrator Mark Loughry recently told county commissioners that, while researching the agreement that created the Port Authority, he learned the city of Leavenworth and county are supposed to share in the funding of the economic development organization.

County commissioners later reached a consensus to ask the city to contribute funding to the Port Authority, but commissioners never took a vote on the issue.

During a Jan. 9 County Commission meeting, Commission Chairman Louis Klemp questioned whether the Leavenworth County Development Corporation can carry out the same duties of the Port Authority if the Port Authority is shut down.

The LCDC is a partner organization of the Port Authority.

Commissioner Bob Holland said during the Jan. 9 meeting that he is in no hurry to make appointments to the Port Authority board. Holland said the agreement that created the Port Authority needs to be redone or done away with.

Blaine Weeks, chairman of the Port Authority, questions “why this is an issue right now.”

He said the Port Authority is operating according to a framework that has been in place for decades.

“There's nothing wrong with it,” he said.

Leavenworth Mayor Mark Preisinger said the Port Authority performs a valuable service.

“I think it needs to be there,” he said.

When it comes to funding for the Port Authority, Preisinger argues there is nothing for the City Commission to act on because there has never been formal action taken by the county commissioners.

Leavenworth City Manager Paul Kramer plans to attend Tuesday's meeting of the County Commission. Members of the City Commission also may be in attendance.

Greg Kaaz, who previously served on the Port Authority board, addressed the County Commission this past week.

Kaaz encouraged county commissioners to work out a way to keep the Port Authority going, and he cautioned against rushing into a decision.

“It's been in existence for 50 years,” he said.

The County Commission has allocated $204,500 in funding for the Port Authority for 2018.

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