When they met Tuesday, Leavenworth County commissioners discussed the possibility of cities providing funding to the Leavenworth County Port Authority.

When they met Tuesday, Leavenworth County commissioners discussed the possibility of cities providing funding to the Leavenworth County Port Authority.

Commissioners ended up voting to table the issue to give the Port Authority's Board of Directors time to have a work session and report back to the County Commission about a possible resolution.

Currently, the county is the only local government that provides funding each year to the Port Authority.

An agreement that established the Port Authority nearly 50 years ago called for joint funding from the county and city of Leavenworth, according County Administrator Mark Loughry.

Under the same agreement, members of the Leavenworth County Port Authority are appointed by both the County Commission and Leavenworth City Commission.

Loughry said Tuesday that agreement probably needs to be updated.

County commissioners previously have questioned whether the Leavenworth City Commission should continue to participate in appointing board members to the Port Authority without providing funding to the economic development organization.

During Tuesday's meeting, County Commissioner Bob Holland said other cities in the county also need to be involved in the Port Authority.

County Commission Chairman Louis Klemp suggested the county and cities each could provide funding based on a formula.

“I think this is something that needs to be resolved,” Klemp said. “Do they want to be a participant or not?”

Blaine Weeks, chairman of the Port Authority board, suggested the Port Authority could form a group to look at the County Commission's concerns and revisit the issue when the county's 2019 budget is being prepared.

The county government already has allocated $204,500 in funding for the Port Authority for 2018.

Holland said he did not want to wait until budget time. He said he wanted the information ahead of time so he knows what the county is dealing with.

Weeks noted that the Port Authority board has a meeting scheduled for today. He said the issue will be a topic of discussion during the meeting.

County Commissioner Doug Smith asked about having a work session.

Klemp said the Port Authority needs to have the work session.

After the County Commission voted to table the issue Tuesday, Weeks asked if commissioners will move forward with appointments to the Port Authority board.

The Port Authority board currently has one vacancy, and a member of the board also is due for re-appointment.

The cities of Basehor and Tonganoxie each have submitted a candidate for the Port Authority board. A third person also has applied for an appointment. Another person has withdrawn from consideration. Current board member Bob Patzwald also would need to be re-appointed.

Klemp suggested commissioners can move forward with making appointments next week.

Loughry said both the County Commission and Leavenworth City Commission have to be in agreement about the appointments. But he said the County Commission and City Commission have taken turns in the past in making recommendations for appointments.

Klemp said the Leavenworth City Commission can make a selection this time if the city provides $102,000. This is about half of the funding the county has allocated for the Port Authority this year.

Loughry said he will present the four candidates during the next County Commission meeting and commissioners can nominate two of them. Loughry said it then will be up to the city to approve the nominations.

County Clerk Janet Klasinki said the county has a mill levy specifically for economic development.

A mill levy is used in determining property taxes.

Klasinski said the county levies about 0.5 mills specifically for economic development. The money collected through this levy is used to provide funding to the Port Authority and Leavenworth County Development Corporation.

Loughry said this mill levy generates about $280,000 per year.

Several representatives of cities in Leavenworth County attended Tuesday's meeting, but they did not address the County Commission during the discussion about the Port Authority.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR