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Published: Thursday, 10/25/2007

Perrysburg mayor won't advise how to vote on TARTA funding levy

Perrysburg Mayor Nelson Evans will make no formal recommendation on whether city voters should approve or reject the 1.5-mill TARTA replacement levy on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Mayor Evans, City Council members, and many citizens believe the city gets poor value for the $1.2 million TARTA will collect from Perrysburg taxpayers this year. That amount will increase if the levy passes. Mr. Evans has lobbied the state legislature to change the law so communities can opt out of regional transportation pacts on their own. That proposal is stalled in Columbus.

The levy appearing on the Nov. 6 ballot is a 10-year, 1.5-mill replacement tax for operations. Perrysburg property taxpayers pay it and another 1-mill TARTA levy that expires in 2011. Rossford is the only other Wood County community in TARTA.

In a written statement, the mayor said it would be inappropriate to criticize or endorse another taxing jurisdiction's levy campaign. But he noted Perrysburg's low use of TARTA works out to about $19 per ride for city taxpayers. "I and many others are very concerned that the Perrysburg property taxpayer has been and will continue to be a donor to the rest of the TARTA system. In effect, I do not believe we are getting our money's worth from the present transit system.

"The fact is, city property taxpayers pay more for TARTA service (2.5 mills) than they do for their own refuse collection levy (1 mill) or for the city's general fund (1.88 mills) or for the Way Public Library (two levies totaling 2.2 mills)."

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