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Published: Wednesday, 6/9/2010

City Council OKs spot on ballot for TARTA tax


Toledo has become the third community to agree to place the Toledo Area Transit Authority's proposed change in the way it is funded on the November ballot.

City Council yesterday approved letting voters decide on the request to shift its funding from 2.5 mills of property tax to a 0.5 percent sales tax.

However, Councilman George Sarantou expressed concern about TARTA's fiscal management, noting that the cost of its wages and benefits had increased by $2 million since 2008.

He said a close review of the transit agency's financial management is in order and recommended the formation of a committee to do so.

The issue won't go before voters unless all nine TARTA member communities in Lucas and Wood counties agree to place it on the ballot. Sylvania Town-ship's trustees voted against authorizing such a vote, but TARTA officials hope they reconsider.

In other business, Mayor Mike Bell withdrew his request for $60,000 to hire a consultant who worked on his political campaign.

The mayor said Steven Cady, an associate professor at Bowling Green State University's college of business, would be a valuable adviser, but the proposed no-bid contract to hire him encountered opposition on council.

Another proposed ballot measure - to amend the City Charter - is to be sent to Toledo's law department for study. The proposed change would prohibit the city from hiring former city employees who are collecting a public pension.

Councilman D. Michael Collins requested an opinion on the constitutionality of such a hiring ban, which he believed would be discriminatory.

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