Perrysburg to try again in May to pass levy
Written by PETER KUEBECK Sentinel Staff Writer
Wednesday, 06 February 2013 11:17
PERRYSBURG - Transit will be back on the ballot this spring.
In a unanimous vote with little fanfare, council decided to officially place a five-year, 0.8-mill levy on the May ballot for voters.
The levy would raise about $459,000 per year if approved. Perrysburg is expected to resurrect transit services almost immediately after a successful vote; that 2013 service then would be financed by the city and paid back by some of the levy funds at a later date, since the property tax monies generated by the measure would not come into the city's coffers until 2014.
This new transportation offering, which will likely be provided by Ride Right LLC, which offered much-lauded "gap" service in the fall, would be somewhat more limited than originally envisioned. It would include ADA paratransit and call-a-ride offerings, as well as morning and evening commuter shuttles, all in new vehicles.
"They've already provided the core services, they're familiar with the route, there's no learning curve," said Councilman and Health, Sanitation and Public Utilities Committee Chair Todd Grayson of using Ride Right again.
A 1.45-mill transit levy failed by fewer than 200 votes in November, a defeat largely blamed on vague ballot language and confusion about whether service would continue without the new tax.
In other business, Council:
• Approved agreements with ODOT for repairs on Ohio 25 between Findlay and Front streets, and Ohio 65 between Route 25 and the Waterville bridge.
• Approved a resolution of support for a divergent diamond design feature to alleviate congestion at the Route 25/Interstate 475 interchange, which is recommended by ODOT.
• Voted 4-3 on a resolution supporting the application of the Harbortown Development for tax credits from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency. The development is planned for 69 senior independent living units for people 55 and over near Roachton Road.
The matter was presented by representatives of Harbortown in a meeting prior to council.
"I love you guys, and I love the look of this thing, and it seems like it'd be great" under any other circumstances, said Grayson. However, he noted that, since the United States and Ohio governments are "broke," he could not support such an application.
"I can't in good conscience put this tab on my kids," he said, later terming it "magical mystery money."
"At the end of the day, it's a subsidy."
Councilman Mike Olmstead also spoke against the use of federal dollars for subsidizing such projects. "I have no clue how we can say we've got money to do this" from the government. "I'm inclined to not be in favor of the financing for it" for that reason, he said.
"And I feel bad about this, from the standpoint that it has nothing to do with the unit quality," he added.
Grayson, Olmstead, and Councilman John Kevern voted against the measure, meaning the resolution of support could not be passed as an emergency measure and would go into effect in 30 days - missing the credit application deadline of Feb. 21.
It was discussed that Harbortown could still submit a letter of support with the four "in favor" councilmen signing it, which would have the same effect.
• Heard a discussion of the plans for a "river walk" along the city's riverfront. Council President Joe Lawless expressed concern for what he termed a "carnival atmosphere" that would be created by some of the features of the multi-million dollar project, including the proposed construction of an amphitheater and other structures. Mayor Nelson Evans disagreed with that characterization. Grayson also took issue with the potential cost of the endeavor.