The Great Lakes Group


The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority Kicks Off Tax Levy Renewal Campaign

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority kicked off its tax levy renewal campaign on Thursday, Sept. 7, with a news conference along the east bank of the Cuyahoga River at the Arcelor Mittal steel mill.

The Great Lakes Towing Company and Great Lakes Shipyard support the Port of Cleveland because it is crucial to keeping the economy of Cuyahoga County afloat:

  • Jobs for Northeast Ohio
    • The Port of Cleveland supports nearly 18,000 jobs
    • The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority has also connected billions of dollars of indispensable private capital with important development projects in our county that have involved more than 16,000 jobs
  • Economic Success for Our Region
    • $1.8 billion in economic activity
    • More than $100 million in state and local government revenue depend on cargo transportation through Cleveland Harbor
  • Support for Our Local Companies
    • The Port brings in materials at low costs
    • Helps local companies like Ford Motor Company and Lincoln Electric be more competitive against overseas industries

The current 0.13-mill Port Authority levy expires at the end of 2017. The quasi-public agency is asking for the same amount with this ballot issue. If passed, the levy will raise about $3.1 million a year and cost a homeowner about $3.45 for every $100,000 of home valuation.

The levy provides about one-third of the Port Authority’s annual budget. The remainder comes from revenue generated from the Port of Cleveland’s Lake Erie docks and fees from its development finance operation.

The kickoff location was chosen to highlight the importance of the Port Authority’s maintenance of the local waterways to the local economy. Arcelor Mittal vice president and general Manager Michael Madar said the mill, which employs 2,000 people and has operations on both sides of the river, receives 4 million tons of raw materials via the Cuyahoga shipping channel.

The Port Authority’s work — maintaining the shipping channel and the receiving docks along the Lake Erie waterfront and the low-cost financing it provides for construction projects — said Port Authority chairman Darrell McNair, “is a tool in the tool kit; it helps us compete in the global economy.”

The Port Authority provided $123 million in low-cost financing that last month helped attract an Inc. fulfillment center to North Randall.

The Port Authority levy will be one of two countywide ballot issues. In the other, Cuyahoga Community College is asking for authority to issue bonds for capital improvements, which is estimated to cost taxpayers 0.5 mills for each one dollar of tax valuation, or five cents for each $100 of property tax valuation.

The Port Authority’s levy millage has remained at 0.13 mills since the authority’s inception in 1968, though it attempted a levy increase in November 2012.

That replacement levy from 2012 would have increased the rate to 0.67 mills to pay for a pedestrian bridge that would connect the Mall to the lakefront, bridging the railroad tracks and Shoreway and to shore up the bulkheads along the Cuyahoga River that prevent erosion of the shore. It was defeated 57% to 43%, and the organization followed up in the spring with a successful 0.13-mill renewal levy.

Source: Crain’s Cleveland Business