P'burg to vote on transit
Written by PETER KUEBECK Sentinel Staff Writer
Wednesday, 01 August 2012 09:41
PERRYSBURG - City residents will have a choice come November on whether they will pay to fund a new transportation system in the city - though who might provide that service remains in limbo.
Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to place a five-year 1.45-mil levy on the ballot this fall.
The levy would collect just under $824,500 per year, or about $44 in property taxes per year on a $100,000 home.
The new system, once funded, would replace TARTA service in the city, which will be ending in September.
Before the vote, Councilwoman Maria Ermie said it is her belief that, if it turns out Perrysburg should require less than the millage to pay for the service, the city should speak with the Wood County Auditor and find a way to collect fewer funds through the levy.
Law Director Mathew Beredo stated that such an action is possible by making a request with the auditor's office.
Prior to the levy vote, council tabled a measure that would have asked the city to negotiate with Texas-based public transit firm MV Transportation to provide transport in the city should the levy pass. Councilman Tim McCarthy asked that the measure be set aside, citing concerns that the submitted bids for service needed further examination.
The Health, Sanitation and Public Utilities Committee had voted to place the measure before council at its July 24 meeting.
MV was one of two finalists - the second being Toledo firm Black and White - among six companies which submitted proposals to the city. The ordinance was to be sent back to committee to re-examine the bids and further discuss the issue.
"There are certainly some pros and cons to all of them," said Councilman Tom Mackin of the proposals.
Council President Joe Lawless asked that the floor be opened to public discussion on the matter prior to the official tabling of the measure.
Perrysburg resident Helen Bernard, a former grants administrator for the city of Bowling Green, spoke in favor of Black and White, calling them "client-oriented" and responsive to concerns. Black and White has operated in the city for more than a decade, with a fleet of seven vehicles.
Scott Potter, an owner of Black and White, spoke before council, stating that "we would not run this like our cab company," meaning there would be more continuity in employees and positive differences in other areas. They have additionally grown their para-transit fleet, he stated.
"We live here, we've owned this business going on 17 years," and have done a great deal of work in Wood County, he said, continuing on to say, "we keep our word. We're good people, we've got a huge stake in the community. We respect your decision if it isn't us, of course."
Both Lawless and McCarthy stated their preference at the meeting for contracting with a local vendor.
A special meeting to further discuss the choice of a vendor is scheduled for Aug. 7 at 6 p.m.
Also still undecided is the issue of the "gap" in transportation that will likely be left after TARTA service ends on Sept. 22, and until a new service is expected to begin in January. While no final option has been settled on, solutions suggested in committee meetings have included further negotiations with TARTA to provide service or, failing that, utilizing monies from the municipal development fund to provide service to fill the gap.
In other business, council:
• Approved a motion setting a public hearing on the subject of the retirement and rehiring of Public Services Director Jon Eckel for Sept. 4 at 6:10 p.m.
• Went into executive session to discuss collective bargaining and other personnel matters. No action emerged from the session.
• Approved two measures to bring the O'Connell Annexation, located at 25818 North Dixie Highway, and including nearly 1.7 acres, into the city.
Councilman Todd Grayson was absent from the meeting.