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Published: Friday, 10/26/2007

Port might finance up to $12M for parochial schools

The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority Board of Directors yesterday declared intentions to provide up to $12 million in tax-exempt financing to the Catholic Diocese of Toledo for school construction and renovations.

The bonds to finance work at six diocesan elementary schools would be backed entirely by a bank letter of credit and would create no financial liability for the port, Michael Frank, chairman of the board's finance committee, told port directors.

The facilities to be built or renovated would be used entirely for education and not for religious purposes, he and members of the port staff said.

The bond-inducement resolution the board approved signifies that the agency and the diocese are formally discussing a bond financing proposal.

An issuance resolution must be approved, and Mr. Frank said that is likely to be brought to the board during its Nov. 15 meeting.

Port directors voted 12-0, after brief discussion about the issue of the buildings' potential religious use, to approve the inducement resolution.

Board member Brian Bucher was absent.

The diocesan schools to be renovated or replaced with bond funding are Holy Rosary School, Swanton; Blessed Sacrament, Holy Rosary Cathedral, and Queen of Apostles schools, all in Toledo; St. Joseph School, Maumee, and St. Michael the Archangel School, Findlay.

The port authority board also approved amendments to a sublease with Buckeye Biopower LLC for 30 acres at the Port of Toledo where the company may build an ethanol refinery.

Among the changes are revisions to procedures for demolishing surplus buildings in the project's way and a new-use clause allowing Buckeye to switch to production of other energy products.

No construction schedule was discussed.


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