Perrysburg transit levy passes by big margin

Voters OK 0.8 mills to restore service

  • Pburg-results-5-8-13

  • Rachel Johnson, left, and Beth Bayes, Perrysburg 4 Transit committee members, celebrate the passage of the transportation levy at the Hilton Garden Inn.
    Rachel Johnson, left, and Beth Bayes, Perrysburg 4 Transit committee members, celebrate the passage of the transportation levy at the Hilton Garden Inn.

    With his assistance dog sitting with him, Gil Lutz clapped and shouted for joy upon hearing that the City of Perrysburg’s public transportation levy passed on Tuesday night.

    “I’m elated,” he said at the Hilton Garden Inn’s conference room. “For the whole community to do something like this, we really needed it for the community to grow.”

    “And I can get out of the house again.”

    The five-year, 0.8-mill transit levy passed with almost 72 percent of the vote. The levy is a little more than half the amount of the levy that was rejected in November. It would generate about $450,000 per year and would cost the owner of a $200,000 house about $50 a year.

    Go Perrysburg, a campaign drive in support of the levy, had a election night celebration party at the Hilton Garden Inn.

    “I’m very relieved and very happy because I would have had to leave Perrysburg if it failed,” said Perrysburg resident Derek O’Neal, 37. He depends on public transportation after suffering a traumatic brain injury. “Everyone I saw at work [a greeter at Meijer] I asked if they voted, and they all said yes except one person, and I had things to say to her but couldn’t.”

    Last month, Perrysburg City Council decided to go with Ride Right, a dial-in ride service, for its public transportation services if the levy passed. Ride Right was used from Sept. 22 to Nov. 27 last year after TARTA services ended.

    Perrysburg Administrator Bridgette Kabat said the city has worked with Ride Right to get up and running as soon as possible. She said it would take about 60 days for Ride Right to begin operations.

    “Ride Right was outstanding when we had it before,” Mr. Lutz said. “We have a great opportunity to show the whole area something very special.”

    Initial hours for Ride Right will be weekdays from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. It will be $1 per ride, which will go anywhere within the city limits and on the U.S. 20 corridor in Perrysburg Township. The service can drop off and pick up riders connecting with other passenger systems, including TARTA, at the Meijer store in Rossford, and at the Maumee Municipal Building.

    Rides scheduled 24 hours in advance will receive priority.

    Service with the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority ceased in Perrysburg in September after voters passed a referendum in March, 2012 to withdraw from that agency. In 2011, Perrysburg taxpayers paid $1.492 million for TARTA services.

    Also in Perrysburg, Molly Mack was elected as the Republican to run in November for Perrysburg Municipal Court judge. She defeated Republicans C. Drew Griffith, 53, a magistrate in Northwood Mayor’s Court, and Aram Ohanian, 44, an assistant prosecutor with the Wood County Prosecutor’s Office.

    “I’m deeply humbled by the faith and support from the community,” Mrs. Mack said. “Our goal has always been to run a positive campaign, and we want to strengthen the ties between the community and the court.”

    Mrs. Mack, 51, lives in Perrysburg Township and is chief of the civil division for the Wood County Prosecutor’s Office.

    Mrs. Mack will face Democrat Tom Mackin, 48, a Perrysburg city councilman and a private practice attorney in the November election. The winner will replace Judge S. Dwight Osterud, who has been in the seat for 23 years but plans to retire at the end of his term.

    “I had a great competition with my competitors, and I’m just humbled,” Mrs. Mack said. “And I’m a little tired, too.”

    The Perrysburg Municipal Court District covers Perrysburg, Rossford, and Northwood; Perrysburg, Lake, and Troy townships, and the villages of Luckey, Millbury, Stony Ridge, and Walbridge.

    Almost 19 percent of registered voters in Wood County turned out for Tuesday’s primary election, with more than 3,400 casting votes in the race for judge and more than 3,200 in the levy race.

    Contact Matt Thompson at: mthompson@theblade.com, 419-356-8786, or on Twitter at @mthompson25.