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Published: Tuesday, 2/5/2013 - Updated: 1 year ago

Perrysburg council to consider transportation levy

Issue would be put on May 7 ballot

BY REBECCA CONKLIN KLEIBOEMER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Perrysburg residents who want to offer public comment at today’s city council meeting will need to find their own way of getting there, but a levy issue on the agenda could change that in the future.

Council will consider a recommendation from the Health, Sanitation, and Public Utilities Committee to put a 0.8-mill, five-year request on the May 7 ballot to fund a public transportation system in Perrysburg.

“I fully expect that that’s going to pass 7-0,” councilman J. Todd Grayson said of the vote.

If residents pass the levy, it would raise an estimated $460,000 a year to pay Ride Right of Lake St. Louis to run two vehicles, one call-a-ride van and one shuttle for a fixed route. Both vehicles would serve handicapped riders.

Mr. Grayson said that soon the city would be negotiating new contracts with Ride Right that would allow the flexibility to adjust times and routes within the set number of total service hours.

“We’ll do whatever demand dictates,” he said.

This will be a second effort to organize a private-transportation system since the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority stopped service in Perrysburg in September, after voters earlier in the year approved withdrawal from the agency. A 1.45-mill levy lost in November.

The new levy is planned to support a reduced level of service, based on rider data collected during an interim period that the city paid Ride Right to provide transportation for city residents. Service would start as soon as voters approve a levy.

Service is expected to cost about $240,000 for the rest of 2013, $420,000 for 2014, and 5 percent annual increases after that through 2017.

According to the Wood County Auditor’s Office, the levy would cost an owner of a home valued at $200,000 about $50 a year. That would bring the annual tax total to $4,111.

Gil Lutz, who is visually impaired and depends on public transportation, is a member of the local advocacy group Perrysburg4Transit. He said he is hopeful the new levy will pass.

“I hope it passes because I hope people will see what they’ve done,” he said, adding that his activities have been severely restricted since he could no longer travel independently. “It’s really clipped my wings,” he said.

Mr. Lutz said countywide transportation services are impractical because of scheduling requirements, and a recent volunteer effort to offer rides is not a long-term solution.

Perrysburg4Transit is looking for volunteers to help with its Go Perrysburg! campaign to support the levy. Information is available on the group’s Web site at perrysburg4transit.com.



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