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Published: Tuesday, 6/22/2010

TARTA sales tax idea gains support


Sylvania City Council Monday night approved a resolution supporting the admission of Lucas County as a Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority member.

The council's 6-1 vote made Sylvania the fourth of nine member communities to pass such a resolution, which could lead to a half-cent sales tax proposal on the Nov. 2 ballot to replace property taxes TARTA now collects.

Without unanimous support, however, Lucas County will not be admitted, and the Sylvania Township trustees last month voted down a similar resolution. The trustees' two-member majority has said it is up to TARTA to change its minds.

Sylvania's council made its decision Monday night after a 90-minute committee-of-the-whole meeting dedicated to the issue. Supporters' comments focused on unmet transportation demand throughout Lucas County that county membership would allow to be served; opponents said the sales tax would damage county retailers and that TARTA should revamp its operations before any expansion of its operating area.

Councilman Doug Haynam espoused the latter viewpoint before casting the dissenting vote. Council President Keith Haddad challenged the assertion that retailers would be harmed, saying it would make little sense to drive to Wood County or Michigan to save 25 cents on a hypothetical $50 restaurant bill.

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