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Sylvania Township weigh opting out of TARTA

The Sylvania Township trustees plan a discussion Tuesday about opting out of the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority following a recent change in state law.

The budget bill that Governor Kasich signed early this month includes a provision allowing local referenda for transit authority member communities seeking to withdraw their memberships.

Township trustees have placed a discussion item on the agenda for their meeting, which starts at 7 p.m. in the township hall, 4927 Holland-Sylvania Rd.

The trustees last year voted down TARTA’s proposal to change its local revenue source from a property tax collected in nine member communities to a sales tax collected in all of Lucas County plus the agency’s current Wood County members, Rossford and Perrysburg.

Trustees John Jennewine and Kevin Haddad, who made up the majority in the 2-1 vote, chastised the transit authority for what they described as wasteful spending on suburban routes whose buses often run empty.

Perrysburg officials also have agitated for years to pull out of the transit authority, complaining that their community pays far more into the transit system than its taxpayers get back in service. The budget amendment that authorizes the referenda was sponsored by state Sen. Randy Gardner (R., Bowling Green), whose district includes Perrysburg.

James Gee, the transit authority’s general manager, said that because the provision does not become law until 90 days after the budget bill’s signing, he does not believe Sylvania Township could get an opt-out referendum onto the Nov. 8 general election ballot.

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