CCPA Uses Farmers Bank to Refinance Its Debt

EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio – The Columbiana County Port Authority Thursday contracted with Farmers National Bank of Canfield to borrow up to $3.07 million to refinance debt owed the state of Ohio and to act as its depository bank.

In a special meeting yesterday morning, the board also entered into a memorandum of understanding to establish a RiverNet Wireless Network that would provide “reliable Internet service to Columbiana County businesses in urban centers,” said CEO Tracy Drake, “and connectivity to county residents“ who lack such a level of access to the Internet.

The wireless network is contingent upon securing $500,000 from the state Local Government Innovation Fund, a loan the authority hopes to secure within the next two months, Drake said. The loan would allow the port authority to buy transmitting equipment to install atop cellular towers. The funds would also allow the network to sell receivers to county residents for $100 or so and then charge $30 or so a month for much improved access to the Internet.

The RiverNet network consists of the port authority, village of Wellsville, city of East Liverpool, the Edu Tech Corridor, St. Clair Township, Buckeye Water District, and Agile Network Builders, the last a supporting private party. Together they have filed an application to the Local Government Innovation Fund for the maximum loan to create the network.

Under the resolution the port authority board adopted, it “is solely responsible for repayment of the LGIF loan” upon it being granted.

The board emphasized in bold type, “Nothing in this memorandum is intended to be legally binding. This document is an outline of how the parties intend to cooperate should the LGIF loan be awarded and should the parties decide to proceed with the proposed project.”

Its new relationship with Farmers National Bank, Drake said, provides the authority with “better [loan] terms and better liquidity.”

The port authority is ending its relationship with Fifth Third Bank.

Under the credit Framers will extend, the port authority will re-fund the principal of the 2006 authority re-funding revenue bonds, $2.145 million, at a lower rate, and repay in full the principal of $785,000 owed on the rural industrial park outside Leetonia to the Ohio Development Services Agency, and fund $77,000 in fees the port authority owes from its earlier borrowings.

Copyright 2015 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.

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