Port Authorities have a wide range of powers provided by Section 4582 of the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) of the State of Ohio. The ORC gives port authorities the power to own land, set fees, and levy taxes. They are usually self-sustaining and often operate railroads, airports, or shipping terminals. Port authorities are frequently established by local governments to promote or support economic development.

Powers of a port authority under 4582 of the Ohio Revised Code include:
  • Acquire real and personal property
  • Cooperate broadly with other governmental agencies and exercise powers delegated by such agencies
  • Issue revenue bonds for port authority facilities
  • Issue voted general obligation bonds for port authority facilities and other permanent improvements
  • Levy voted taxes for all purposes of the port authority
  • Operate transportation, recreation, governmental, or cultural facilities, and set rates and charges for use of port authority facilities
  • Own, lease, sell, and construct improvements to real property
  • Receive federal and state grants and loans and other public funds

Community Improvement Corporation
A Port Authority differs from a Community Improvement Corporation (CIC) in 3 primary ways:
  • Port authorities are authorized to levy taxes (sales, property, or special assessment) for up to five years.
  • Port authorities can exercise the right of eminent domain to appropriate or condemn property.
  • Property owned by port authorities is exempt from all taxes.

Bonds are issued by a Port Authority in 2 different ways:
  • As a "pass-through vehicle," based on the credit of the entity for which the bonds are issued.
  • By a vote of the local electorate, similar to a local school bond issue.

Importance of the Port Authority
Port authorities considered important economic development tools for communities because of their tax-exempt status, port authorities have the advantage of passing savings on to economic development projects, thus making projects possible that might not otherwise happen. They facilitate economic development projects:
  • Acquiring and selling property to economic development projects.
  • Loaning monies at competitive rates and terms.
  • Providing security for an economic development project by facilitating a structured financing.