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TARTA gets closer to November ballot

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 7:27 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - TARTA has passed a critical milestone in the path to a new funding structure. The transit agency is preparing to put a sales tax on the November ballot, eliminating the current property tax.

After 11 years of roadblocks, TARTA is confident that it will be able to let Lucas County residents vote on a TARTA sales tax.

“This is an incredibly exciting week for TARTA. It is literally a historic moment in this agency’s 50-year history,” said Kim Dunham, TARTA’s CEO.

Dunham is celebrating that Lucas County Voters will likely see a TARTA sales tax on the November ballot.

“For the fifth time in eleven years, and we will succeed this time,” she said.

The ballot measure will do three things:

1. Add Lucas County to the TARTA Board.

2. Approve up to 0.5% sales tax.

3. Repeal current property taxes.

TARTA needed four out of seven of its member jurisdictions to approve the proposal in order to bring it to the voters. The only holdout was Maumee, which passed its own measure.

“We support a regional transportation system. We believe a regional transportation system is necessary,” said Maumee Mayor Richard Carr.

Mayor Carr’s issue with the TARTA proposal is the new structure of the board. It would give Lucas County and Toledo a combined 7 votes, and leave the suburban communities with only 6. He fears that the county will vote in Toledo’s best interests, leaving the suburban jurisdictions without a voice.

“That’s where their votes come from. They can get elected based on the Toledo vote,” said Carr.

So Maumee passed its own version of the proposal that would give every suburban community a representative on the board. However, since the other six jurisdictions passed identical resolutions, TARTA’s version, TARTA can bring its version to the voters.

“We are moving forward under the current law. Tomorrow the TARTA board will approve a resolution,” said Dunham.

If a 0.5% sales tax levy passes, it would bring Lucas County to a 7.75% sales tax.

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