The Southeastern Ohio Port Authority (SeOPA) is a statutory agent of Washington County created by the County Commissioners. While SeOPA does not operate a traditional port, under the Ohio Revised Code, port authorities are given certain powers in the areas of real estate development, financing and management of foreign trade zones and constructing facilities. Unlike a city or county, SeOPA can buy land and construct a building that could be leased or sold to a business of its choosing at a privately negotiated price. SeOPA can issue tax-exempt (and therefore, lower interest bonds) on behalf of a private entity for the construction of new plant or equipment.
SeOPA is funded through a public-private partnership. In addition to the County's annual appropriation, the Port Authority is very appreciative of the businesses and individuals who pledge funds to support the Port's economic development efforts in the County.
SeOPA has adopted a Plan of Work, which is used to set priorities and guide development efforts. The Plan of Work is not a static document and will evolve with time. There are four main goals:
- Business attraction. SeOPA continues to market Washington County Ohio as a prime business location to businesses, industries, and families seeking a viable place for relocation.
- Retention & Expansion (R&E) of Existing Businesses and Industries. Most “new” jobs in a community are typically created by existing businesses and industries. The Port Authority strives to maintain Washington County as a vital area for companies to prosper and grow.
- Community Leadership and Stewardship. The task of Economic development is never so simple and straightforward that the area or community being promoted is problem free--all communities have problems. Great communities work together to resolve problems. SeOPA works with partner groups to address issues that could affect the area's business climate.
- Building for the long-term. As a public-private government entity, the Port Authority relies on private support from area business, industry and individuals as well as public support from the Washington County Commission to operate. Through successful economic development projects, the Port Authority will create sustainable revenue streams to assist with economic development in Washington County and support agency operations.