Thursday, May 24, 2018
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Toledo-Lucas County Port seeks renewal of tax

The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority’s 0.4-mill levy, used primarily for business development and neighborhood revitalization projects, is up for another five-year renewal on the Tuesday ballot.

The tax, which costs the owner of real estate valued at $100,000 an annual $6.60, raises $2.1 million for the port authority. Its assessment basis has gone unchanged since 1994, with three renewals since then.

Levy funds “are used primarily to leverage state and federal funds to support job creation,” according to a levy committee organized to promote the renewal. During the current levy, $10.5 million in local tax revenue has been used to secure $83 million in state and federal grants for development projects, according to the campaign.

Those projects have included debris removal, pollution cleanup, and road and utilities construction on the former Gulf Oil refinery site in East Toledo and the old Jeep factory complex off Jeep Parkway in the central city.

Part of the old refinery has been converted into a new riverfront terminal, designed primarily to handle bulk materials. The port authority has leased part of the former Jeep site to an industrial-gases warehouse and has broken ground on a 100,000-square-foot warehouse of its own that it plans to market to the logistics industry.

The port authority has set aside $350,000 of its annual levy revenue for development projects in central-city neighborhoods, much of it passed through community development agencies. It also has provided $1.1 million in working capital for minority-owned contractors to support their ability to bid on local construction.

Last year, the agency bought Toledo’s three municipal parking garages from the city for $12.4 million and formally took over management of downtown metered parking, while retaining the Downtown Toledo Parking Authority to run day-to-day operation of both.

The port authority operates Toledo Express Airport, several docks at the Port of Toledo, and Toledo’s train station, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Plaza, as well as an array of financing programs for business development and energy-related building retrofits.

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