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Published: Thursday, 12/1/2011

Perrysburg mulls referendum to break from TARTA


Perrysburg City Council members said they plan to vote Tuesday whether to place a referendum on the March ballot to discontinue a transit contract with TARTA.

“Quite honestly, this decision needs to be made by the voters, not the elected officials,” Councilwoman Maria Ermie said about leaving the transit agency.

The council’s discussion took place Thursday night during a meeting packed with about 50 people.

Many of those in the audience spoke out of concern because the city has not yet developed an alternative transit plan if voters approve leaving TARTA and feared they could lose their mobility.

“It’s heartfelt for me,” said regular bus rider Mike Ledford, 48, of Toledo, who travels to Perrysburg to watch his young son.

Officials said Thursday they need more time to develop a new system and plan to hire a consultant to design the plan in time to put a new transit tax on the ballot next November.

The meeting also included a heated exchange between Ms. Ermie and Tom Metzger, TARTA’s superintendent of transportation.

Mr. Metzger said he asked some Perrysburg officials for feedback — to “think outside the box” and find out what services the city wants — but didn’t get a response.

“You are the expert,” Ms. Ernie said. “We are the customer.”

“Sometimes you have to go to the customer and find out what they want,” Mr. Metzger shot back.

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