Port Authority approves funding for LCDC

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

With funding reduced for 2022, the Leavenworth County Port Authority will turn most of the funding it receives next year to its partner organization, the Leavenworth County Development Corporation.

The decision was made Tuesday during a meeting of the Port Authority'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.

Port Authority board members are appointed by the County Commission and the cities of Leavenworth, Lansing, Basehor and Tonganoxie.

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

But commissioners plan to provide $149,000 to the Port Authority in 2022, which can be split between the Port Authority and LCDC.

In the past, the county government used money collected through a mill levy designated for economic development to provide funding to the Port Authority and LCDC.

County funding for the two agencies will be reduced next year because county commissioners plan to use a portion of the revenue from the mill levy to pay for a new economic development administrator.

During Tuesday's Port Authority meeting, LCDC President Josh Hoppes presented a funding proposal to the Port Authority board.

He said the Port Authority will need to keep at least $24,000 of the $149,000 from the county next year to pay for things such as insurance and legal services.

Hoppes requested the Port Authority give LCDC $125,000 of the $149,000.

LCDC also traditionally receives funding from the cities of Leavenworth, Lansing, Basehor and Tonganoxie. The amounts LCDC receives from the cities are based on a funding formula.

To help fund an anticipated budget shortfall next year, Hoppes said LCDC will request an additional $10,000 each from Leavenworth and Tonganoxie.

"They're getting the bulk of attention from us right now," Hoppes said about the two cities.

He said this is because LCDC is working to attract businesses to the Leavenworth Business and Technology Park and the Tonganoxie Business Park.

Hoppes said LCDC officials also hope to increase the revenue it receives from the private sector next year. And the organization plans to use $25,000 of its reserve funds.

LCDC Executive Director Steve Jack said these measures are not intended to be a long-term solution.

"We understand that this is not sustainable over multiple years," he said.

Port Authority Chairman Greg Kaaz said the Port Authority and LCDC fought hard with the county to keep their traditional funding levels intact. But he said some county commissioners felt they wanted the county to have its own economic development person.

"That's the way it turned out," Kaaz said.

The Port Authority board approved the proposal from LCDC with a 6-0 vote. Board member Vernon Fields was absent.

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