Voters turn down Perrysburg public transportation levy

PERRYSBURG, OH (Toledo News Now) - Perrysburg City Council is holding a special meeting Thursday to determine if they can develop a short-term plan to supply public transportation.

Perrysburg voted to opt out of TARTA earlier this year and Tuesday voters turned down the levy to fund its replacement. Perrysburg will now be without public transportation. That could happen as soon as Sunday.

Gil Lutz lives in Perrysburg and is blind. Lutz used TARTA and now Ride Right.

"It's vital because that's how I shop. That's how I get around. That's how I entertain myself. That's how I get to meetings," said Lutz.

Perrysburg turned down a 1.45 mill levy to fund the service by nearly 51 percent or a 182 vote margin.

The levy would have cost the owner of a $200,000 home about $60 a year. That price is half of what TARTA cost.

"I don't think they understand the ramifications. They really don't. It's going to affect property values. It's going to affect business in the area," said Lutz.

Todd Grayson is the chair of the committee that has been heading the levy request.

"It really seems like it's predominantly people who didn't fully understand what was on the ballot, why it was on the ballot and it's really a shame. We thought we had a nice information campaign, but I think a lot of people didn't realize are really in need of transit in this community," said Grayson.

Grayson said he worries the fallout will include people leaving town or even unemployment for people who depend on the service.

"People who otherwise would be independently living have to go on other forms of government assistance that costs many many times more than the relatively small cost of transportation," said Grayson.

Grayson said they will go back to voters in March and cut down the millage to 1.25 mills. Grayson said they never planned on collecting the full 1.45 mills.

"We had to send a millage to Wood County before we selected our transportation provider, and so because Ride Right was less expensive than the other choices, we can now cut that millage back," said Grayson.

"We would like to have public transportation, but then it becomes a decision we have to make collectively, to determine whether or not we could afford the transportation system, because if we can't get a levy through to fund that, then that moneys going to have to come out of our general fund and that's not something we're prepared to do at this point," said Tim Pauken.

Even if the levy is approved in March, voters will have four months without public transportation.