Port Authority expected to save $12,000 annually

EAST LIVERPOOL — The Columbiana County Port Authority is expected to save at least $12,000 a year by switching to a bookkeeping system developed specifically for government agencies by the Ohio Auditor’s Office.

Port Authority Finance/Management Administrator Diane Ksiazek reported last week that 2018 is the year they will switch to the Uniform Accounting Network software bookkeeping system. This is something she and Port Authority Executive Director Penny Traina have been working on since Traina was hired in 2016. Ksiazek said the move will not only bring them in line with accepted government accounting practices but make it easier for staff and the board to keep track of port authority spending and finances. It also means the port authority will no longer need the services of the East Liverpool accounting firm of Miller, Stacey & Associates, which it has used since about 2000.

“It will keep us in compliance (with government accounting practices), give us a clearer picture of where we’re at and save us money,” she said of the switch.

It cost the port authority $13,000 to $17,000 a year for accounting services, depending on whether its books were being audited by the state that year. Ksiazek said switching from an accrual accounting system, which is commonly used by businesses, to the cash method under the UAN system should also reduce state audit time from six months to one or two months, saving even more money for the port authority, which has to pay for the audits.

“The board appreciates the services of Miller and Stacey over the years,” Traina said.

In other business, the port authority board adopted a 2018 budget of $1.47 million based on $1.55 million in revenue, which is in addition to a current cash balance of $3.69 million. The budget includes $200,000 to continue with replacement of the roof at the port authority industrial property in Leetonia that houses several businesses. Traina also reported 787 acres on private land has been added to the master inventory of property available for development. The port authority hosted two public forums in November for any property owners interested in adding their land into an inventory that was being compiled, which will serve as a resource for businesses interested in locating in the county.