TARTA hoping to get new sales tax on the November ballot

TARTA hoping to get new sales tax on the November ballot

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - As you're checking out for a big purchase, residents could soon notice it rings up a little higher in Lucas County.

This is if TARTA's proposed sales tax passes with member communities and taxpayers on the November ballot.

The public transit system is trying again after Sylvania Township kept the sales tax from going to voters last year.

This year's proposal is a point 0.4% sales tax, when last year's was 0.5%. If passed, the sales tax in Lucas County would be 7.65%.

For every $100 spent, this could add 40 cents to each purchase.

The General Manager of TARTA, James Gee believes this year they have a better chance because of the new projects they have in the works.

"Part of the criticism that we heard before was that TARTA needed a new strategic vision, a new idea of what public transit should look like in our region, we've developed that strategic vision," said Gee.

This includes an Uber type service, a gr ant for autonomous vehicles, new routes and better access for the disabled using TARPS. More on TARTA's strategic plan can be found here.

Seven member communities need to pass resolutions, along with the TARTA Board of Trustees and the Lucas County Commissioners.

Ottawa Hills Village council unanimously passed the resolution on Monday. If all member communities approve it, the tax will go on the November ballot.

"The advantage of sales tax primarily is you have visitors that pay into it, 30 percent of the sales tax here in Lucas County is paid by visitors," said Gee.

Neighbors have raised some concerns about buying cars with this sales tax. According to Ohio law, the sales tax for cars is based on the county the vehicle is registered in, rather than where it is bought.

Right now, TARTA is making majority of it's money from a 2.5 mil property tax for homeowners.

For a $100,000 home this is around $73 a year. If this sales tax passes, the property tax would be eliminated.

"Voters historically prefer sales taxes over property taxes. One of the most common complaints from homeowners is there is such a burden on property taxes today. This is a way to reduce the burden on property taxes, reduce the burden on homeowners," said Gee.

Gee said he hopes the member communities pass this resolution and let the voters decide.

August 8th is the deadline to get all paperwork filed with the Lucas County Board of Elections.

Toledo City Council does not have the resolution on this agenda. They could be voting as late as July 31.

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