Lawrenceburg Council Approves $665K Grant For Port Authority
By Mike Perleberg
(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) – The Southeastern Indiana Regional Port Authority is on a mission to spur economic development along the Ohio River in Dearborn County.
Having money to spend and invest would help that mission.
SIRPA was formed by an interlocal agreement between Aurora and Lawrenceburg last September. SIRPA attorney Jeff Stratman says the port authority will promote economic development using the river, railways, highways, and proximity to the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky Airport.
Shortly before voting 3-2 to approve a $665,000 grant request from the city’s 10 County Regional Grant Program, council was told by Stratman that the agency is without any funding currently.
“If we do not get this thing to be self-sufficient eventually, then why are we doing it?” Stratman asked.
He said the grant funds would be used for investigatory and feasibility study-type work. “We don’t have a specific project in mind yet,” he explained.
Council members Mike Lawrence and Jane Pope were the dissenting votes, saying they would rather see the request tabled until other municipalities are asked to contribute.
“I think it’s responsible for this board to not fully commit to this money and take from our taxpayers until we know if the county is going to join,” Pope said.
Dearborn County has not been approached for funding yet, according to Stratman.
“We think the county will join (the port authority) by every indication we have,” Stratman said, adding that he is unsure if or when the agency will approach the county with a funding request.
Dearborn County Commissioner Shane McHenry is among SIRPA’s board members, along with city officials from Lawrenceburg and Aurora.
Greendale declined an invitation to join the port authority.
SIRPA served as the governmental sponsor of the grant request.