Marion/Ralls port authority receives MHTC approval

Corey Mehaffy, executive director of the Hannibal Regional Economic Development Council announced Dec. 22 his office was notified the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission has approved the Marion County Port Authority’s request to establish the Marion/Ralls Regional Port Authority. 

On July 28, the Marion County Port Authority Board of Commissioners in cooperation with the Marion and Ralls county commissioners, executed an intergovernmental cooperation agreement to establish a regional port authority. 

Approval of the new port authority is subject to MHTC review, as provided in Chapter 68 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri, as amended (the “Port Authorities Act”), which governs port authorities. 

The “Marion/Ralls Regional Port Authority,” is a separate political subdivision of the State of Missouri and it authorized to exercise port functions within its boundaries, the territorial limits of Marion County and Ralls County.

According to Mehaffy, the Marion County Port Authority Board of Commissioners officially applied to MHTC for approval of the Marion/Ralls Regional Port Authority Aug. 13.  

“Consistent with Section 68.060 of the Port Authorities Act, a formal letter of application and request was sent to MHTC for their review and approval,” Mehaffy said. “Also consistent with Chapter 68, a copy of the requisite ‘contractual agreement,’ the Intergovernmental Cooperation Agreement, was included in the application.” 

MHTC approved the Marion/Ralls Regional Port Authority in its December meeting.  The approval will be reflected in the MHTC minutes of that meeting to be approved in January.

Mehaffy indicated that the Marion County Port Authority, established in 1988, will be dissolved as the new regional port authority is brought online. 

“With the approval of the regional port authority by MHTC, the MC Port Board of Commissioners will appoint the initial regional port authority commission members,” Mehaffy said. 

Mehaffy pointed out that the MC Port Authority is deemed dissolved as of the date of MHTC approval. 

In winding down operations, the MC Port Authority commissioners will transfer all funds and other assets to the Marion/Ralls Regional Authority.

According to Mehaffy the new regional port authority will promptly file for a fictitious name. 

“As we did with NEMO Economic Development Council, the Marion/Ralls Regional Port Authority will apply for the fictious name of Hannibal Regional Port Authority,” Mehaffy said. “The Hannibal brand is strong and known around the world. The commissioners intend to leverage the strength of that brand moving forward.”

Following the MHTC approval, the regional port board of commissioners have a number of housekeeping items to complete to get the new entity operational. 

“The next steps in the process will include an initial meeting of the newly appointed regional port authority board at which each appointee will take the oath of office,” Mehaffy said. “The newly seated board will adopt bylaws, elect officers, and adopt an open records policy, including the appointment of a custodian of records.” 

In addition, new accounts will be established for the Regional Port Authority for deposits of the MC Port Authority’s transferred funds. 

Also, the regional port authority will arrange for acceptance of an assignments of all existing contracts and obligations of the MC Port Authority.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Marion County Port Authority is set for Friday March 5. 

Mehaffy notified the MC Port Board of Commissioners of the MHTC approval recently. He noted it is likely the Marion County Port Commissioners will notice and hold a special meeting to begin the transition in January of 2021.

“I am grateful to our port board of commissioners and to the Ralls and Marion county commissions for their vision, and willingness to partner in this endeavor,” Mehaffy said. “I am also grateful to the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission for their approval of our request.”

The Marion County Port Board of Commissioners includes Corey Mehaffy, Brian Caldwell, Brock Fahy, Gerry Maas, Rusty Adrian, Doug Krigbaum, Gordon Ipson and David Lomax. 

To learn more about the Marion County Port Authority, visit their webpage at https://hredc.com/marion-county-port-authority/ 

HREDC works to promote financial investment in Hannibal and Palmyra; and Marion and Ralls Counties. For more information on the organization, please visit their website at www.hredc.com.