Port Authority chairman discusses funding

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

The chairman of the Leavenworth County Port Authority said board members will need to look for additional funding sources and possibly review the organization's scope of work following news of a cut in funding from the county government.

Chairman Greg Kaaz briefly discussed funding for the Port Authority on Tuesday during a meeting of the organization's Board of Directors.

The Leavenworth County government traditionally has been the primary source of funding for the Port Authority, which is an economic development organization.

The County Commission uses a property tax levy that is designated for economic development to fund the Port Authority and its partner organization, Leavenworth County Development Corporation.

During a work session last week, a majority of county commissioners favored keeping $160,000 of the revenue generated from the economic development mill levy next year to use for county purposes. The remaining $149,000 will be given to the Port Authority.

Some of the funding provided to the Port Authority can be redistributed to LCDC, County Administrator Mark Loughry said.

The county government provided the Port Authority more than $200,000 in funding for 2021.

The Port Authority requested $208,590 in funding for 2022. LCDC made a request for $90,629 in funding from the county for 2022.

Kaaz said Tuesday that he had read about County Commission's decision regarding economic development funding in the newspaper but had not received official word from the county.

Loughry, who participated in the Port Authority meeting, confirmed county commissioners decided $149,000 would be provided for the Port Authority and LCDC next year. However, he noted that commissioners have not yet approved the county's budget for 2022.

Kaaz suggested that Port Authority members meet with LCDC leadership during the next couple of months to discuss how the organizations will adjust to change in funding.

While the Port Authority has relied on the county for its funding, LCDC also receives money from some local cities as well as area businesses.

LCDC Executive Director Steve Jack provided a report about his organization's activities during Tuesday's Port Authority meeting. He said LCDC has seven members from the private sector this year.

"We need to continue to look for more private sector involvement to strengthen funding of the organization," he said.

LCDC President Josh Hoppes, who also participated in Tuesday's Port Authority meeting, suggested LCDC needs to review its funding formula in light of the County Commission's decision.

With commissioners planning to create an economic development position, Hoppes said it appears the new funding level from the county will continue past 2022.

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