2015 Annual Report

2015 was highlighted by impressive capital investment projects throughout Jefferson County, each of which holds great potential to strengthen the county’s tax base and job creation activity in the coming years. The Port Authori-ty (Port) is proud to have played an instrumental role in several of these projects, as described in the following pages. We are committed to doing our part to capitalize on these investments as the county’s economic develop-ment leader. Jefferson County has a strong foundation and is well-prepared to diversify its industrial base and offer new, broad-based job creation across several targeted industries.
 
The Port focused throughout 2015 on strategies that it deems very important to facilitate ongoing investment. We look forward to working with all of our stakeholders in 2016 on some of these specific economic development tools and land development initiatives. Some highlights of our 2015 work includes:
 
1. Plains Energy oil/gas terminal, Knox Township: The Port worked through the first half of 2015 toward the June execution of sales tax and real estate tax abatement contracts to secure Plains’ forecasted $56 million in capital investment. The Port guided Knox Township Trustees and the County Commissioners in the expan-sion of the county’s Enterprise Zone into Knox Township in order to negotiate with the company for a 50% 10 year tax abatement. Additionally, the Port utilized a unique power granted to Ohio ports under ORC 4582 to construct facilities, lease them to the client and forgive the sales taxes on construction materials.
 
2. Franciscan University of Steubenville Land Development Partnerships: The Port has developed an overall philosophy that it will participate in local infrastructure development projects when there is a direct correlation to new jobs and overall economic development. The Franciscan Square project (highlighted on page 5) meets this criteria, as it has the potential to not only improve the area’s retail and office environment, but to continue to grow one of the State’s educational leaders. In November the Port submitted a grant appli-cation through the Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association for $75,000 Appalachian Regional Commis-sion infrastructure assistance. If successful the Port will oversee the construction of the sidewalk portion of the new road network. More broadly, the Port will focus in 2016 on strategic marketing initiatives alongside Franciscan, as it strives to recruit future tenants to the development.
 
3. Creation of the Mingo Junction Community Reinvestment Area (CRA): Mingo’s village-wide CRA was certified by the State’s Development Services Agency in November and can now receive applications for commercial and residential tax abatement on the improved value of construction projects. Port Authority Ex-ecutive Director Evan Scurti will serve as the village’s manager of the program. The Port considered this to be a critical tool for Mingo to develop for several reasons: 1) the Village is focused on encouraging residential rehab projects in certain neighborhoods and that is the primary purpose of a CRA; 2) the Village is ideally lo-cated for future commercial developments; and 3) a Village-wide CRA is needed as this community houses one of Eastern Ohio’s largest redevelopment areas—the former Wheeling-Pitt steel mill. A full toolbox of programs and financing strategies is important as we work with the Village to bring new investment to the mill site and other areas.
 
4. Steubenville Central Business District Real Estate Development Summit: Upon the recommendation of a Port investor, in mid-2015 the Port coordinated a planning process resulting in the inaugural Central Business Dis-trict (CBD) development summit. The event was coordinated by a planning committee of several Steubenville businesspersons and local government administrative staff. The event was officially hosted by the Port, Board of County Commissioners, and City of Steubenville and was able to be offered at no expense to guests or the general funds of the local governments. Local businesses generously donated over $1700, allowing the group to welcome keynote speaker Franzi Charen from the Asheville, NC Business Alliance. Over 100 guests heard the message of Asheville’s downtown renewal. The group also brainstormed and toured CBD properties available for sale or lease. While the Port will be focused on industrial initiatives in 2016, sustained involvement in downtown redevelopment strategies and entrepreneurial support will be a part of the Port’s workplan. We recognize that the combination of history, architecture, geographic proximity and available infrastructure make the downtown an important economic development topic.
 
5. County-wide Commercial Permitting Ad Hoc Committee: As a follow-up to site selection consulting advice received throughout 2014 and 2015, the Port has created a committee to explore the potential of offering county-wide commercial permitting and inspection services. This initiative is part of an overall effort to make Jefferson County as “shovel-ready” as possible for new industrial development. In addition to improved documentation of industrial site and utility availability and more aggressive marketing, having a local permitting process would be an excellent addition to our business-friendly environment. Many counties, including Belmont in 2015, have gone to local permitting, as opposed to referring commercial builders to the State permitting office system. This discussion is in its infancy and will culminate in a 1st quarter 2016 recommendations report submitted by the Executive Direc-tor. The City of Steubenville is part of this analysis, as it operates a commercial permitting office within its city administration.
 
6. Brownfields Redevelopment Partnership with the BDC: In late 2015 the Port entered into a formal partner-ship with the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle to apply for $600,000 of USEPA brownfield assessment (Phase I and II studies) assistance on commercial sites throughout Brooke, Hancock, and Jefferson counties. The Port looks forward to ongoing partnerships with the BDC to not only redevelop potentially contami-nated lands but also to creatively market our river valley together. While economic development is often very com-petitive among the states, it makes great sense for the Port and BDC to pool its resources and market our valley re-gion to national and international decision-makers.
 
7. Formation of the Port’s Capital Improvement Fund: At the December 2015 board meeting, the Board of Di-rectors agreed to transfer its first $50,000 into a Capital Improvement Fund. The Port is very grateful to its private investors who have made this possible. Our local government partners have supported our operating needs each fiscal year; local private investors (there are now over 30) have made generous investments collectively exceeding $50,000 annually to the Port. Through this process we are able to form a reserved fund for future Port facilities, land acquisition, and infrastructure assistance when there is a direct relationship to economic development and new job creation.
 
The Port Authority is excited to build on all of these initiatives to move Jefferson County forward in 2016. We believe our workplan is a smart combination of industrial development marketing strategies, site readiness initia-tives, and more aggressive pursuit of grant assistance from our State and Federal partners in these areas. Of course, our stakeholders are always welcome to offer input into our evolving program of work.
 
Enclosed, please enjoy an overview of the exciting developments that occurred throughout 2015. Jefferson County can be proud of significant transformative investments and announcements during this calendar year. Many of these projects are poised for exciting phases in 2016 and beyond.
 
Jefferson County Industrial Park
County Rd. 43
The County-owned Industrial Park continues to serve as a premiere industrial setting for new investment and job creation. The Industrial Park is home to approximately 100 full-time employees and the Port is focused on adding to that number significantly in the coming years. The Port performs a management function for the County Com-missioners during land development and prospect recruitment processes. Over 50 acres of quality, shovel-ready land remains under County ownership, offering one of the Valley’s best options for accessing North American mar-kets.
 
2015 Highlights:
• Signs, Ltd. announced an expansion of service offerings and new jobs to be developed in 2016 at its Technology Way facility. Under the leadership of owner Ed Rice, Signs, Ltd. has been a quality employer in the Park since 2007. The Port Authority looks forward to working with Mr. Rice and the Signs Ltd. team as they implement growth plans.
 
• London, UK-based Certwood, Ltd., a manufacturer of injection molded products in the educational and medical markets, grew its Jefferson County distribution process by finding expansion space inside the National Colloid facility. The Port Authority recognizes National Colloid for accommodating this growing company’s needs. We look forward to facilitating more success in 2016 and beyond.
 
• The Port worked with the County Commissioners throughout the last half of 2015 to complete the County’s repurchase of the Premier Pump, Inc. 4.8ac. parcel. The land was repurchased at 90% of Premier’s original purchase price, as stipulated in the purchase agreement. The parcel is cleared and offers a flat 4.8 acres, and is again available at a competitive price.
 
• Currently, the Port is in consultation with a logistics prospect discussing a plan that would create over 50 new jobs for the area. This potential project is a top priority as the Port begins its 2016 work.
 
• The Port is currently preparing a cost analysis to improve the 26ac. parcel at the end of the new road completed in July 2014. The Port will pursue significant grant assistance for all improvements to make the site more competitive during the site search process (i.e. tree removal; grading for building pads; and possibly extend infrastructure into the site).
1 mile to State Route 43
 
Yorkville Energy Services Terminal
 
Jefferson County — 2015 Capital Investment Projects and Announcements
 
A joint venture between Esmark, Inc., owner of the former Wheeling-Pitt mill, and Clear Water Technologies was announced in April. The partners plan to invest over $1 million in a water filtration system for the area’s oil and gas drilling operations. The Yorkville facility remains an excellent manufactur-ing option for industries searching for an Ohio Val-ley location. Over 700,000sf of quality space is available for heavy industry. Creation of energy service centers like this not only holds potential for new jobs, but it is leading to increased spending and sales tax revenue for Jefferson County, as drilling-related vendors are traveling regularly throughout the SR 7 and US 22 corridors.
 
The Port Authority has developed strong working relationships with the owners of all 3 former mills in Yorkville, Mingo Junction, and Steubenville. The properties represent more than 500 acres of land available for new industry. The work of our regional partner—the Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth (APEG)—is also very vital. APEG was responsible for the creation in 2015 of the Ohio River Sites market-ing website (www.ohioriversites.com), a vital economic tool to our market area. This is an important initia-tive as the Valley and all of Appalachia must focus on diversifying and showcasing these unique properties to various industries worldwide. This continues to be a focus of the Port as we move into 2016. We are current-ly in consultation with a manufacturing prospect expressing interest in river-served sites, and we expect to capitalize on this trend in the coming years. Manufacturing in the Ohio Valley could be a strategic decision for many industries in the coming years, and the Port is focused on securing these future capital investments.
 
Houston, TX-based Plains Energy’s plans for a $56 Million oil and natural gas tank farm, north of Toronto
In addition to ongoing pipeline development activity in the county in 2015, the Port worked alongside Plains Energy throughout the year to facilitate their construction of an oil/gas storage and distribution sys-tem in Knox Township. In June contracts were exe-cuted that outlined the use of Ohio’s sales tax abate-ment program, a unique tool available to Ohio ports. Assets are being funded by Plains Energy, but con-structed and owned in the name of the Port, thereby passing sales tax savings onto the client. This is a common economic development tool utilized to facili-tate Ohio economic development projects.
 
2015 was a very big year in terms of public infrastructure investments and large private capital announcements and investments. Highlighted by the $40 million State Route 7 stabilization work and the announced $120 million new OH-WV bridge (2017 expected construction), the area is poised for quality growth in 2016 and beyond.
 
TIMET— Toronto plant
 
It was announced in August that Berkshire Hatha-way purchased the parent company of TIMET, a titanium processing facility in Toronto and one of the county’s largest employers. The Port will focus on solidifying relationships with this very important employment center.
It should also be noted that in 2015 the Brooke-Hancock-Jefferson metro planning agency, in partnership with the City of Toronto and ODOT, announced the $1.5M Titanium Way bridge re-placement project. This is a vital infrastructure investment project that will retain and potentially grow TIMET’s future workforce.
 
Sammis Power Plant— Stratton
 
Another major employment center, with over 400 employ-ees, issued a positive announcement in December 2015. FirstEnergy has filed a settlement agreement with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) that outlines an 8-year retail rate protection process that also protects the future of important baseload plants like Sammis. The plan also includes aggressive carbon emission reduction requirements through 2045, building upon the plant’s recent energy effi-ciency and pollution reduction investments.
 
The Port Authority appreciates the financial investments it has received from both FirstEnergy and AEP and looks for-ward to working with both energy providers. They represent a critical resource for our economic future and thousands of direct and direct jobs for citizens.
 
Barium & Chemicals, Inc.—Pottery Addition
 
The Port would like to recognize JobsOhio, the State’s economic development agency for their provision of a revitalization grant that aided a long-standing employer in its efforts to comply with EPA requirements. JobsOhio’s $450,000 grant was executed in July 2015, helping Barium & Chemical to retain its 27 employees and add 5 new positions. This is an excellent example of how State-level partners are helping Jefferson County modernize its development and manufacturing sites for 21st century employment.
 
Master plan renderings of Franciscan Square in Steubenville—ground broken in May 2015. Project also supported by the $9.5M continuous intersection improve-ment project at SR 7 / University Blvd. This key investment has been approved by local-State partners and will be completed in 2017.
 
The Port is proud to partner with Franciscan University of Steubenville, the City of Steubenville and Colliers International on this transformative project. The plan calls for up to 60,000sf of new retail and office buildings, including a new hotel and two new restaurants. To support the project, the Port filed an application in November 2015 for $75,000 of federal assistance to-ward sidewalk construction surrounding Phase I—hotel and restaurant sites. The Port will oversee the construction bid pro-cess in 2016 for this portion of the development. The City of Steubenville and Steubenville City Schools approved in No-vember 2015 a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) agreement for the development, which will help Franciscan finance its infra-structure costs. TIF is a well-regarded Ohio economic development finance tool. The Port congratulates all partners. This project not only strengthens Franciscan University, but it provides a modern commercial gateway into the county seat and cre-ates quality new jobs. The Port will focus in 2016 on assisting Franciscan in bringing Phase II construction to reality.
 
Steel Valley Tank — Brilliant
 
Steel Valley Tank, with its growing workforce of 20+ em-ployees, is a great Jefferson County success story. Much of Steel Valley’s growth in the tanker repair business has been fueled by the rapid growth of the fracking industry in North America. Steel Valley Tank announced in 2015 that it will not only repair tankers, but by purchasing the nearby former National Lube facility in Brilliant, it will begin to construct new tankers for the industry.
 
Jefferson County Port Authority—Staff, Board of Directors and Investors
 
The Port Authority is organized under Ohio Revised Code Section 4582 as a political subdivision of the State of Ohio. The 9-member Board of Directors is appointed by the Board of County Commissioners and City of Steubenville (4 ap-pointments each) as well as Jefferson County Regional Planning (1 appointment) and serves 4-year terms.
 
2015 Board of Directors and Staff
Jay Zatta, Chairperson
Mark Teramana
Debbie Venci, Vice Chairperson
Mike Thomas
Dr. Ed Florak, Treasurer
Gary Cain
Greg Nemeth, Secretary
Rob D’Anniballe
Jim Emmerling
(*Derek Ferguson did not seek a 2nd term in August 2015; he served as Chair through August 2015.)
 
Ex-officio Board Members:
County Commissioner Dr. Thomas Graham
City Manager Tim Boland
City of Steubenville Mayor Domenick Mucci
City of Steubenville Councilman Greg Metcalf
 
2015 County Commissioners:
Dr. Thomas Graham
Tom Gentile
Dave Maple
 
Port Authority Staff:
Evan Scurti, Executive Director
Joe Dantona, Intern
 
2015 Gold Level Investors:
Board of County Commissioners ($150,000 toward 2015 general fund)
City of Steubenville
The D’Anniballe Group of Companies (Jefferson Security Services, Inc., Checker Transportation, and Ambulance Service, Inc.)
TEAM Automotive
Teramana Enterprises
FirstEnergy
 
2015 Silver Level Investors:
Barium & Chemicals, Inc.
New York Life Insurance Company—Steubenville
D’Anniballe & Company, Inc.
Eastern Gateway Community College
Fort Steuben Maintenance
Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities
D&L Construction
Apollo Pro Cleaning & Restoration
Jody & Carolyn Glaub
Nemo’s Auto Body
Walden Industries
WesBanco
WTOV-9
 
2015 Bronze Level Investors:
Geary Bates
Bug Busters
Cain Realty
Cross Creek Township
Dr. Ed Florak
Hess Corporation
Huntington National Bank—Steubenville
Legal Hair & Day Spa
Signs Limited
Sincerely Yogurt—Steubenville
Steubenville Area Board of Realtors
600 Airpark Drive
Wintersville, OH 43953
(740) 283-2476