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Published: Thursday, 2/7/2013

Perrysburg voters will see transit levy on May ballot

Request about half of what was lost in November

BY TOM TROY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

By a unanimous vote, Perrysburg City Council decided Tuesday to try again at winning voter approval of a public transportation levy.

The proposed 0.8-mill, 5-year request that will go on the May 7 ballot is a little over half the amount of the levy that was voted down in November, and about one-third of what city residents were paying when the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority served the community.

City officials said the new levy will get an aggressive campaign and, so far, will not have a big school system levy with which to compete.

“I'm hoping it will pass with the lower amount,” said Mayor Nelson Evans after council approved the ballot issue 7-0 with no discussion. The mayor said the issue had already been heavily discussed.

In November, Perrysburg voters approved a 13.15-mill incremental levy sought by the Perrysburg school district in the same election in which the 1.45-mill transit levy was defeated.

If it passes, the proposed 0.8-mill levy on the May ballot will generate $459,146 per year for two buses to be able to provide call-for-service along with a scheduled route three hours in the morning and three hours in the evening. The levy would cost the owner of a $200,000 home about $50 a year.

Councilman J. Todd Grayson, chairman of council's Health, Sanitation, and Public Utilities Committee, said the fare that has been suggested is $2 for the Dial-A-Ride service and no charge for the morning and evening shuttle.

Both the Dial-A-Ride and the shuttle would be able to drop off and pick up riders connecting with other passenger systems, including TARTA, at the Meijer store in Rossford and at the Maumee Municipal Building.

Mr. Grayson, the only Libertarian on council, said he supports the plan because it's cheaper and more efficient than other services that will have to be utilized by agencies such as Medicare to transport senior and disabled people.

“This is a net tax savings,” Mr. Grayson said.

Kevin Rantanen, formerly the Perrysburg representative to TARTA and now a member of the Perrysburg 4 Transit levy committee, said misinformation and complacency contributed to the November defeat.

He said the new committee is planning an all-out push to pass the levy. “We have a much better organized committee now, a lot stronger, more members,” Mr. Rantanen said. “I personally wish they had put it on the ballot for a larger amount, but I can see the 0.8 mills should be enough to meet the basic needs.”

The city is expected to continue to contract with Ride Right of Lake St. Louis, Mo., the firm that ran a temporary service from September to November, and with which users were happy, according to Mr. Grayson.

Residents voted in March to withdraw from the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority.

Contact Tom Troy at: tomtroy@theblade.com or 419-724-6058.



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