By: By Wayne Allen
September 20, 2013
PDT Staff Writer
Earlier this week the Auditor of State Dave Yost released the results audit of the Southern Ohio Port Authority from Dec. 31, 2011 thru Dec. 31, 2012.
According to an analysis of the audit, some key financial highlights included, “total revenues decreased $1,270,162 or 60.93 percent between 2011 and 2012 and increased $1,662,776 or 394.10 percent between 2010 and 2011. Total expenses increased $1,217,136 or 100.77 percent between 2011 and 2012, and increased $721,622 or 148.42 percent between 2010 and 2011.”
The audit outlines the Port Authority’s primary assets as consisting of “land, buildings, rail facilities and a river dock located in Portsmouth.
The Port Authority’s source of income has been state and federal grants used in the remedial development of brownfield industrial property that is ultimately sold at fair market value. The purpose of The Port Authority’s sale of industrial property is to promote the creation of industrial related jobs in Scioto County and property sales are typically made at below cost. The Port Authority has been totally dependent on state and federal funds for its continued existence.”
In a section of the audit titled, “Findings related to the financial statements” SOPA was given a noncompliance citation.
As for reasons for the citation the audit states, “Ohio Revised Code (ORC) Section 5705.41(D)(1) prohibits a subdivision or taxing entity from making a contract or ordering any expenditure of money unless a certificate signed by the fiscal officer is attached thereto the fiscal officer must certify that the amount required to meet any such contract or expenditure has been lawfully appropriated and is in the treasury.”
In response an unnamed SOPA official said, “Although we were not aware of the requirement we concur that the relevant ORC section covers SOPA as a subdivision of the Scioto County Board of Commissioners and that he certifications required were not performed. SOPA was not structured in the traditional manner of most government entities in that it has no paid administrative staff. It instead has operated exclusively as a volunteer organization. At its inception in the early 1990s the SOPA board made the decision that it would forego a formal administrative capacity and apply for all available resources to its efforts to revitalize the area economy.
SOPA is in the process of changing its administrative model and hopes to have a full-time administrative staff in place as early as September 2013. All administrative functions will be transferred to that staff at that time. Beginning immediately SOPA will adopt all recommendations included in the auditor’s schedule of findings and conform to the requirements of ORC Section 5705 41(D)(1).”
For more information or to see a copy of the report visit Ohio Auditor of State’s website at, www.auditor.state.oh.us.
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Wayne on Twitter @WayneallenPDT.