Zanesville and Muskingum County are not located on a deep water port, so we often receive questions about what exactly a Port Authority does. Additionally, the Zanesville Muskingum County Port Authority (ZMCPA) is the administrative agent for the Muskingum County Transportation Improvement District (TID). All of these acronyms can be confusing, so here are answers to some frequently asked questions.
What is a Port Authority?
Q: What is a Port Authority?
A: In Ohio, Port Authorities are quasi-governmental entities created by political subdivisions under Ohio Revised Code Section 4582.
In the case of the Zanesville Muskingum County Port Authority (ZMCPA), the Port Authority is jointly formed by the city and county.
Q: What do Port Authorities do?
A: Ohio law provides for Port Authorities to construct facilities, issue bonds, make loans, and sell or buy real property. Their functions may also include operating airports, river ports, lake ports, and owning railroad lines. Port authorities also possess many powers similar to other local governments in Ohio.
In Muskingum County, our main goals are developing industrial and commercial property; managing enterprise zones; serving as sources of bond financing for intergovernmental, civic, non-profit, and commercial development projects; and administering community and economic development programs.
Q: How are Port Authorities structured?
A: Port Authorities are governed by a board of directors appointed by elected officials of the local government(s). Port authority boards vary in size and board composition. The board adopts bylaws providing for the administration and governance of the port authority.
The ZMCPA Board of Directors consists of five members – two county appointees, two city appointees, and one joint appointee.
Q: Who oversees Port Authorities?
A: Port Authorities fall under a variety of checks and balances. The Auditor of State is responsible for auditing Port Authorities and publishing audit findings every two years. The records of Port Authorities are treated as public records (except certain confidential business data) and Port Authority board meetings are made open to the public under Ohio’s open meetings act.
Q: Where does Port Authority project funding come from?
A: There are a variety of sources of project funding assistance available to a Port Authority. Some of these include the Ohio Department of Jobs & Commerce, Ohio Development Services Agency, USDA, US Economic Development Administration, as well as regional and state economic development partners.
Over the past 10 years, the ZMCPA has received nearly $21,000,000.00 in the form of grants, land sales, farm lease revenue and bond revenue. All of these funds are directed toward growing Muskingum County’s economy, recruiting viable industries and increasing the average area wage.