Perrysburg transit delays disturbing
Written by PETER KUEBECK Sentinel Staff Writer
Wednesday, 24 April 2013 11:15
PERRYSBURG — Despite cloudy skies and a rainy night, transit volunteers received some time in the sun Tuesday.
Council honored more than a dozen drivers who have assisted with a “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” program providing rides to citizens who have been in need of transportation since the city’s public transit service ended in November. The service has been coordinated by members of the Go Perrysburg committee.
Each of the volunteers was given a mug emblazoned with the City of Perrysburg’s seal, and a certificate.
“I wanted to honor some people who have been very helpful to our community during our downtime with our transit system,” said Mayor Nelson Evans.
“I really appreciate the efforts you’ve gone through to spend your time” and help those in need, he said.
“That’s kind of an over and above type of thing.”
Mariann “Mimi” Laing, one of the volunteers honored at the meeting, said that she provides rides sometimes as often as two or three times a week to those who needed them.
She said she participated “because people are needy and they need rides. And I had a car and no kids. To be helpful.”
Laing said she probably gave around 10 different people rides, and has been volunteering since Christmas.
“They’re really thankful. People are really stuck sometimes when they don’t have a car.”
Rosalinda Brown, another of the volunteers, stood up during the meeting and recognized the assistance of Councilman Tom Mackin with the program. Mackin was recently chair of Perrysburg 4 Transit, now called Go Perrysburg.
“People just joined together and doing just what the title says, neighbors helping neighbors,” said Brown.
There were approximately 20 volunteers over the life of the program, and 30 riders, she said.
“There are approximately 2,500 trips that were taken. There were at least 500 trips that were taken for one individual here, or one individual there,” she explained.
“These volunteers, I can’t say enough about them.”
She also recognized the assistance of Grace United Methodist Church, which provided a dedicated phone line for the program at the church’s expense. Brown’s two granddaughters assisted with answering the phone line.
The program is ending at the end of the month, but the phone line will remain open to help people coordinate rides to the polls.
A five-year, 0.8-mill transit levy will appear on the May 7 ballot and, if passed, will fund a public transportation service in the city provided by Ride Right LLC. The city has already entered into contract negotiations with the company in anticipation of the measure passing.
In response to a question, City Administrator Bridgette Kabat said that if the levy is approved, transit service could begin within 60 days. Some in attendance expressed concern that would not be soon enough.
“You guys have had five months, five months!” exclaimed one audience member. “I’m shocked.”
“You have to hire drivers,” responded Councilman Todd Grayson. “It’s going to take time to get drivers and a facility and a phone.”
“We will push Ride Right to start as soon as possible,” said Evans.
The service would provide ADA paratransit, call-a-ride, and limited commuter service.
Council also gave a reading to a resolution honoring retiring council member Maria Ermie for her service to the city.
Ermie announced at the April 16 meeting that she would be resigning from council at the end of this month due to health issues. Ermie has served on the board since 2001 and has chaired the Personnel Committee for 11 years. She has also served on the Finance, Service-Safety, Planning and Zoning, and Health, Sanitation and Public Utilities committees.
Council has 30 days after Ermie steps down to appoint a replacement to serve out the remainder of her term. Ermie’s seat is one of three council seats up for election in November — the other seats are currently held by Council President Joe Lawless, and Mike Olmstead, who has announced his candidacy for mayor.
Ermie was not present at the meeting, and Lawless said he wanted to wait to pass the resolution until she was able to attend.
Evans said that applications for those seeking to fill the rest of Ermie’s term will be due April 30. One application has already been submitted, and two others are currently out.
In other business, council:
• Passed a measure levying special assessments for the separation of combined sewers within Cherry Street Sewer Separation District 208. The ordinance allows Finance Director Dave Creps to notify property owners of the costs assessed to them for the work performed. The total assessment is $174,688.67, or a third of the cost of the project,
• Authorized Kabat to solicit bids for pavement marking within the city.
• Approved the purchase of a three-quarter ton Ford truck from Brondes Ford for the Department of Public Service at the cost of $26,077.
• Approved a $175,700 agreement with the Fort Meigs YMCA for the management of the municipal pool. A second agreement with the YMCA was approved to provide swimming lessons and aquatic exercise at the pool.
• Approved a $10,540 agreement with Lake Erie Electric of Toledo for electrical work at Rotary Community Park.