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Published: Tuesday, 5/21/2013

Perrysburg council to vote on transport contract

July 1 is tentative date to start service

BY MATT THOMPSON
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Evans Evans
THE BLADE/LORI KING Enlarge | Buy This Photo

Perrysburg City Council will vote today on a contract for Ride Right for a public transportation service that could start July 1.

“That is the tentative date. They are going to try to start sooner, but it is tentative. It could be later,” Perrysburg Mayor Nelson Evans said.

The city and Ride Right hope the service can start sooner, depending on whether Ride Right gets its drivers, vehicles, phone line, and location set up before July 1.

On May 7, Perrysburg voters passed a transit levy with almost 72 percent of the vote. A similar levy in November failed, with 50.89 percent opposed and 49.11 percent in favor. The five-year, 0.8-mill transit levy that passed is a little more than half the amount of the one rejected. The approved levy will generate about $450,000 annually and cost the owner of a $200,000 house about $50 a year.

Ride Right is looking at the same location it used in the fall at 116 West 3rd St.

Mayor Evans said different vehicle designs that stand out are being considered. He said two vehicles will provide service regularly and a third vehicle will be a backup. Deputy Finance Director Tim Fisher said Ride Right will have from 10 to 15 people on staff.

“Before last fall, I didn’t know anything about the company [Ride Right],” Mr. Fisher said, “but they are really good to work with.”

Ride Right, based in St. Louis, provided transportation service in Perrysburg from Sept. 22 to Nov. 27 last year. Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority’s Perrysburg service ended 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.

The new service is not obligated to start until Jan. 1, 2014, when collection of levy funds begins. From whenever it starts until next year, the city will be paying for the service, Mayor Evans said.

Mr. Fisher estimated it will cost the city $270,000 to run the service from the July 1 start date if the council approves that timeline in the contract. But Mr. Fisher said the city would make that money back through the five-year contract, since they gave themselves some contingency to make sure they had enough money to fund the service.

“It is important because of the fact a lot of people depend on it to get to work or the doctor’s office,” Mayor Evans said. “Some people thought it wasn’t fast enough [Ride Right tentatively starting July 1]. We couldn’t do that. You can’t expect a company to get ready before it passes.”

The vote has not been certified, but the city is moving along because the vote was so lopsided.

Go Perrysburg, the campaign group that helped raise funds and push for passage of the levy, plans to stay together until Ride Right begins service.



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