HOLIDAY CITY — What can a port authority do for Holiday City, which doesn’t own so much as a large pond?
Quite possibly a lot, apparently.
Williams County Port Authority officials spoke to members of the village council during their meeting Thursday evening in relation to the subdivision they want to build on County Road M.50, just north of the village office.
“The port authority can assist you in getting the infrastructure put up because we have the powers to do things as a private entity that you don’t have that can probably save some money and frustration,” David Newcomer, president of the port authority, said.
What’s often said is that a project by the port authority won’t need to pay prevailing wage, but that’s not usually the case as Newcomer said anyone competently working an excavator will be paid a prevailing wage. However, Holiday City wouldn’t be responsible for the paperwork and reporting they would normally need to do and would save time and money.
The port authority can also negotiate.
“We don’t have to bid it, which gives us a lot more flexibility to negotiate the deal,” Newcomer said. “One of the issues is finding someone, whether they’re from Toledo or Fort Wayne (Indiana), and attract them.”
One problem the port authority has is that it doesn’t currently have any money.
That isn’t necessarily a dealbreaker, though, as they have other options available, including applying for funds.
“But, frankly, the money would have to come, for the most part in this transaction, from the village in the form of land or you can give us money for infrastructure,” he said, adding there is another possibility. “We can go to employers and say, ‘Look, if you want to guarantee to us that you’ll rent 10 houses for a given amount of money, we can take that to the bank and borrow the money to put up the housing.’”
The employer would have to pay rent on that building until it’s sold.
More likely, Newcomer said, the employer would put up their own employees in those houses.
“We know we have one employer nearby who’s renting 50 rooms at the Holiday Inn to get people to work around here,” he said. “There’s lots of other options we can pursue as a private agency to get this going.”
Newcomer said he would like the council to have a couple of people to work with the port authority to work out the details.
Holiday City Village Administrator Gary Baker said they were working with an engineer to survey the property and have already done a preliminary plat for the subdivision. They’re working on a final plat for the council to approve.
Newcomer said Holiday City could save money with zero platting.
“You start trying to find developers and say, ‘Here’s what we can offer you today,’” he said. “But, you should be aware that you also want to say, ‘What would you like to work with?’ Because they might not want lots like that.”
The port authority wants to be a tool, Newcomer said.
They can bring people in to discuss how they want to develop the property, but it is up to the village to approve the plan.
“I go to Fort Wayne, I go to Toledo and I see this explosion of growth happening all around us,” Newcomer said. “You’ve got to get with it or we’ll all get left behind out here. If we don’t get moving to support and bring housing, we’re hurting ourselves.”
In other business:
• Council had an executive session to discuss compensation of a public employee. Councilman Sean Rupp recused himself as his wife, Lauri TenEyck-Rupp, is the village’s fiscal officer.
• Rupp requested Solicitor Cara Wall draft an ordinance preventing any new applications for medical marijuana dispensaries come before council for approval. Baker said they already had around two people apply for a dispensary in the village.
• Council had the second reading of an ordinance regarding compensation for 2022.
• Baker said they could get a new severe weather siren installed with a pole for around $25,000.