Port authority needs tools to reach potential

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 17, 2005

Members of the Ironton Port Authority obviously paid attention in accounting class. They understand the value of land.

In business accounting, most assets, or things with value, can be depreciated over the course of time. Buy a truck and your accountant can figure out the "life expectancy" of that truck. Each year, as the value depreciates it lowers a business’ tax burden. The only exception to depreciation is the most valuable asset of all - land.

Last week, Ironton leaders heard a request for land by the IPA, a quasi-government group of volunteers charged with economic development in the city of Ironton.

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Port authority members sought an additional two acres of property in the South Ironton Industrial Park. It appears the port authority, fresh on the success of bringing a new metal company, Aluminastic, into the park is busy again.

And the biggest thing they need to help them on their mission of improving the economy in Ironton is more land. The Ironton Industrial and Commercial Development Committee of the city council has recommended the city just deed over the entire park to the port authority.

We think that’s a smart idea, so long as the good communication continues to exist between the port authority and the city.

For the port authority to succeed long-term it needs developable land and some operating funds. Having the ability to quickly move on a potential development deal is one of the best things the port authority has going for it. Providing the authority the quick-access to the land just makes that flexibility to rapidly seal a deal more appealing to potential investors.

Let’s give the authority the land, let them fill it up and in the process, the authority can generate its own operating funding. When the South Ironton Industrial Park is filled and all of its land is back on the property tax rolls, then the authority can work to fill up the remaining vacant properties.

The sky may be the limit to what the port authority can achieve. But the first step is in giving them the tools.