Spencer Township to vote on ending TARTA bus service

Host of other issues dots suburban ballots


Critics of bus service in rural Spencer Township have a second, and possibly final, chance to persuade a majority of township voters on Tuesday that the community should withdraw from the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority.

A year ago, local voters defeated a withdrawal resolution, 488-329. But with an “unofficial petition” requesting another vote, signed by 234 people, Spencer Township trustees agreed in July to put the matter back on this year’s general election ballot, with a simple majority required for passage.

As had been the case in Perrysburg, which withdrew from the transit authority last year, TARTA’s service in Spencer Township has been targeted with frequent complaints that bus ridership is minimal and the service a waste of money.

A Spencer Township-bound TARTA bus awaits riders in downtown Toledo.
A Spencer Township-bound TARTA bus awaits riders in downtown Toledo.

During a July 18 township board meeting, Trustee D. Hilarion Smith and petition organizer Joan Mossing said the language on the referendum last year was confusing, although Mr. Smith observed that the same wording is in place this year, as required by state law.

Those who want Spencer to pull out of TARTA, the trustee said, need to fully understand the question, because the state law allowing the township to leave the transit authority by a simple majority vote expires with this election.

While several speakers cited light ridership as reason to leave, others said pulling out of TARTA with no alternative in place would leave those who need the service high and dry.

Cited in particular were schoolchildren who ride the buses to get to classes in Toledo and seniors and disabled people who rely on the Toledo Area Regional Paratransit Service, which provides door-to-door service for disabled people in the TARTA service area.

Curtis Lancaster, the trustees’ chairman, said he considered the public to have spoken last year but joined in the unanimous vote to put the matter back on the ballot in light of the petition.

If the question passes, TARTA service to Spencer Township will end six months after the vote is certified.

If it fails, any future attempt by the township to withdraw will require the consent of other transit authority members unless Ohio law governing such agencies’ membership is changed.

Also on the Spencer Township ballot are a proposal to approve a township contract with the village of Whitehouse for economic development services and a pair of 2-mill, continuing fire-service levies.

One of the fire levies is a renewal, while the other is a new tax.

Other levies on local ballots in Lucas County include:

■ A new, 3.5-mill continuing police levy in Waterville Township.

■ A 2-mill, five-year fire levy in Swanton that represents renewal of an existing 1.5 mills plus a new half-mill.

■ A five-year renewal of Swanton’s 0.5-mill park levy.

■ A 4.4-mill, five-year fire levy in Springfield Township that includes an existing 1.3 mills and 3.1 mills of new tax.

■ Renewals of 2.5-mill fire levies in Providence Township (five years) and Richfield Township (three years).

■ A five-year renewal of Washington Township's 2.5-mill road tax.

■ Continuing renewal of a 0.5-mill levy for the Swanton Public Library.

■ A 5-mill, five-year levy for current expenses in Harbor View.

■ A 0.5-mill, five-year levy for Oregon senior citizens’ activities.

One mill equals $1 of tax for each $1,000 of assessed property value.

Local-option permit questions for Sunday alcohol sales will be on the ballot in Jerusalem Township’s Precinct 1, Oregon’s Precinct 13, and Providence Township’s Precinct 1.

The Jerusalem question pertains to the Curtice HyFlash convenience store at 7410 Jerusalem Rd. The Oregon request is from Cinco de Mayo Amigos restaurant, 3111 Navarre Ave. The Providence request is from Majestic Oak Winery, 13554 Mohler Rd.

The winery seeks to sell wine and mixed beverages; the others also request both plus the right to sell liquor.

Contact David Patch at: dpatch@theblade.com or 419-724-6094.