Maumee Approves TARTA Proposal With New Conditions

Maumee City Council approved TARTA’s request to change the funding stream from property tax to a sales tax mechanism but added specific conditions that allow equal representation from all affected communities. Other member jurisdictions are currently considering TARTA’s request. MIRROR PHOTO BY NANCY GAGNET

Maumee City Council approved a motion that allows the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority (TARTA) to change its revenue stream while also expanding its membership to include Lucas County; however, that consent came with a new set of guidelines.

At the July 6 meeting, council voted 6-to-1 in favor of the new TARTA proposal allowing the transit system to switch funding from a property tax revenue stream to a .5-percent countywide sales tax. In addition, TARTA can include the Lucas County Board of Commissioners into the seven-member system, which is comprised of the cities of Toledo, Sylvania, Rossford and Waterville plus Sylvania Township and the village of Ottawa Hills. Council member Brent Buehrer opposed the action.

If a majority of TARTA’s member communities agree to the proposal, the issue will go before voters in November for a final vote. Previously, unanimous approval from the member communities was required to place a TARTA proposal on the ballot, but a new provision in Ohio law changed that requirement, making it easier for TARTA to move forward with the funding and membership request.

Maumee is the first municipality to take up the issue, but rather than approving TARTA’s original proposal, Maumee changed the proposal to include language that automatically repeals the property tax when the new sales tax is implemented. It also requires equal representation on TARTA’s board of trustees, so that instead of a simple majority of board members comprised of Lucas County and the city of Toledo, all members would have equal representation and equal voting power. In addition, those townships that do not belong to the TARTA system but will be affected by the increased sales tax, such as Springfield and Monclova townships, would also have representation on the board. The ordinance also seeks TARTA reimbursements to each member community, increased over time.

Maumee Mayor Richard Carr said that the new provisions allow equal representation for those communities affected by the new tax.

“The city of Maumee believes that every city and our new township partners, whose constituents must pay for TARTA service, should have an equal vote and that the proposed ballot initiative should be ready for the November ballot,” Carr said.

TARTA CEO Kim Dunham said Maumee’s proposal would need further review. 

“TARTA will continue to move forward. We will be debriefing on what occurred at this meeting and we look forward to working together with municipal leaders from all of our jurisdictions to secure long-term proper funding for TARTA,” she said.

All other member communities are in the process of taking up the TARTA issue and should act by July 19. 

At the meeting, council also took the following action:

• Approved the purchase of a new camera and access control system from Redshift Technology for the Maumee Indoor Theater in an amount not to exceed $13,323.

• Approved the purchase of a new camera and access control system from Redshift Technology for the fire station in an amount not to exceed $35,895.

• Authorized retaining Dunright Building Services to replace the five front dining room windows at the Maumee Senior Center at the cost of $11,389.

• Authorized a professional services agreement with the Mannik & Smith Group to design a beaconed crosswalk at Cass Road and Thackeray Road in an amount not to exceed $7,300.

• Authorized a change order for professional services relative to Sewer Class II operator requirements in an amount not to exceed $26,185.

• Authorized the purchase from Perrysburg Pipe of pipe and related materials for use in the uptown waterlines project in an amount not to exceed $40,000.

• Authorized a contract with Accountemps for temporary administrative assistants in the Building and Zoning/Service Department and in the Utility Billing Department.

• Authorized the purchase of 80 batteries for police portable radios at the sale price of $122.25 per battery for a total price of $9,780.

• Authorized an agreement with Civica CMI to set up and provide software to transfer ticket data from eCitations to a records management system and the Ohio Department of Public Safety in an amount not to exceed $10,990.

• Authorized a contract for improvements to the Elizabeth Street pump station in an amount of $1.21 million.

• Authorized the city administrator to enter into an agreement for professional services with Mannik & Smith for the purpose of applying for a Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments (TMACOG) grant for a multiuse path and to the Ohio Department of Transpor-tation for a Highway Safety Improvement Program Grant in the total amount of $18,200 to augment funding for the Anthony Wayne Trail project.

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