Port commissioners hone outreach campaign

Published: Thursday, September 5, 2013 at 10:09 AM.

The port effort is a community effort, for the future, Raffield has repeatedly stated.

Port Authority chair Leonard Costin has long sought funding from the state, primarily to fund basic operations, but said that from Gov. Rick Scott on down the mantra is what is the return on investment in the Port of Port St. Joe?

He said he’s had very little success raising operational money – port director Tommy Pitts earns $1 a month and assistant Nadine Lee is forgoing any salary – but dredging money is likely going to be available.

“You’ve got to have someone manning the ship,” Raffield said.

And Dane Caldwell of St. Joe offered a counter to the return on investment argument.

“What’s the return on non-investment?” Caldwell said, noting the region had been one of economic concern to the state for much of a decade. “The whole region is wanting to stand on its feet. What is the return in not investing in the port?”

Board member Patrick Jones said the port should tell a story from the standpoint of what has been invested and what needs to be invested. He said the longer the port infrastructure remains unaddressed, the more the loss from prior investment.

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