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Published: Friday, 11/18/2005

Putnam County takes steps to resolve Leipsic feud

OTTAWA, Ohio - Putnam County commissioners have decided to activate the county's dormant port authority and work toward settling their differences with Leipsic officials.

Commissioners voted 2-1 Wednesday to name three individuals to the port authority board and to hire a Columbus attorney to write bylaws for the organization. The board also voted unanimously to get together with the Leipsic-Van Buren Port Authority in an attempt to resolve their differences.

The Leipsic group had threatened to take commissioners to court if they did not disband the county's dormant port authority by today. It was unclear how the commissioners' decision would affect the future of the Leipsic port authority.

Commissioner Tom Price said he believed Leipsic could pursue economic development projects through the Putnam County Port Authority.

"We want to see if we can work something out here," he said. "Talking is always better than going through with suits."

In 1987, a previous board of commissioners voted to create a countywide port authority, but it was never activated and only came to light last year when the Leipsic port authority, which was created in 2001, wanted to pursue a project and learned that only one port authority was allowed to exist in the same jurisdiction.

Leipsic planned to use its port authority to issue bonds for construction of a short-line railroad that would connect the three rail lines through Leipsic at a new industrial park.

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