Havre Daily News
A committee studying the possibility of bringing a port authority to Havre has given a report to city officials defining what the authority would be, and what it wouldn't be.
Insurance salesman Andrew Brekke, one of the committee's three members, said today the report was based on the committee's findings so far, but much work still needs to be done.
Havre Mayor Bob Rice has said he wants to investigate the possibility of creating a port authority for the city and for Hill
County. He has given the committee a June 30 deadline to present information to the City Council and the public. Rice today said he will invite Hill County officials to a future City Council meeting, at which Shelby Mayor Larry Bonderud will make a presentation.
The report borrows from Bonderud's definition. Shelby has had a port authority for about two decades.
The port authority would be a voice for public and private sector entities who come together and promote the welfare of the community, the report said.
Montana state law defines a port authority's purpose as the promotion, stimulation, development and advancing of the general welfare, commerce, economic development and prosperity of jurisdiction of the state and its citizens.
The authority “offers great possibilities for developing various segments of our city and county, which would otherwise be neglected, and it offers the possibility of increased revenue to the Port Authority region and holds out the hope of reducing property taxes, while at the same time, increasing employment opportunities.”
The report did not spell out how the proposed authority would work to accomplish these tasks.
In its report, the committee gave three definitions of what the port authority isn't:
A port authority isn't related to serving a port;
It isn't an agency “that can run rough-shod over the will of the citizens”; and
It isn't designed to compete with agencies engaged in local development, but is designed to work in cooperation with those established developmental agencies.
A planned meeting with the Great Falls Development Authority still hasn't been set, Brekke said. He added that only one site visit has been made, and the committee intends to visit other areas that are more similar in nature to Havre and Hill County.
“We intend to do several other site visits,” Brekke said. “We're still hoping our next visit will be to Great Falls.”