Sunday, Oct 23, 2016
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Perrysburg to interview transit operators

When Perrysburg city officials make a big hire, they don’t just look at a candidate’s resume, Councilman Timothy McCarthy said tonight.

Likewise with hiring a new transit company. Officials need to interview the company owners in person and hear their pitches instead of just reading the bid packages, Mr. McCarthy said during a special committee that about 25 people attended.

The committee set another special public meeting at 3 p.m., Aug. 16, to hear from four transit operators.

The city is moving forward to start its own transit service after voters approved withdrawing from TARTA, or the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority, earlier this year.

Out of six bids, a city committee selected its top two choices: MV Transportation, a nationwide company based in Dallas, and Black & White Transportation, which operates out of Toledo and services Bowling Green’s transit. MV bid $705,156 to run the city’s shuttle service for the first year; Black & White bid $619,336.

However, at a full city council meeting in late July, some council members officials said they were concerned MV was not the lowest bidder and preferred to hire a more local company. Others said they needed more time to deliberate the different transit companies.

But Perrysburg’s new transit system is not a guarantee either.

First, voters must approve a 1.45-mill, five-year levy on the Nov. 6 ballot to pay for it.

If passed, the transit levy would generate $824,476 in the first year and would cost the owner of a $100,000 house about $44 annually.

Under TARTA, Perrysburg taxpayers paid 2.5 mills, which generated about $1.5 million.

City officials and TARTA board members are also back-and-forth on what happens once TARTA pulls its buses from Perrysburg on the scheduled Sept. 22 date, before Perrysburg’s new system would start.

Perryburg councilman J. Todd Grayson had asked TARTA to contract with the city to provide service for people with disabilities or senior citizens during the gap in service.

TARTA leaders said they are unsure if they can legally do so and voiced concern about contracting with the city after Perrysburg voters had their say at the ballot box in March.

“The days are going by fast,” said Perrysburg resident Sondra Alden, who rides the bus to her job in North Toledo every day.

During today’s meeting, she pushed council to make a decision quickly on which transit company, in case the city could hire them to alleviate the gap in service.

Contact Gabrielle Russon at: at 419-351-0361 or on Twitter @GabrielleRusson.

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