July 29, 2014

Elyria
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Lorain County Transit levy campaign to be visible, vocal

Susan Lilly walks to a Lorain County Transit bus in this 2009 file photo. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

Susan Lilly walks to a Lorain County Transit bus in this 2009 file photo. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

ELYRIA — Backers of a 0.065-mill levy to support Lorain County Transit are hoping that by mounting a campaign they will see a better result than they did a year ago when county voters resoundingly shot down an earlier bid to pass a transit levy.

“If we don’t do anything, nothing’s going to happen. People won’t even know about it,” said Chief Deputy Clerk of Courts Beverly Beidleman, who is spearheading a campaign committee.

The county commissioners skipped campaign efforts a year ago when they tried to convince voters of the need to pass a levy, which 59 percent of voters rejected.

Commissioner Lori Kokoski said she and her fellow commissioners mostly relied on grassroots efforts, word of mouth and newspaper coverage to tell voters about the levy last year, but that didn’t work.

“We’re going to do whatever we can to get the word out better than we have in the past,” she said.

Transit has seen its fortunes plummet in recent years as the county has grappled with budget shortfalls. Although it was once a county-spanning system, transit is largely limited to two routes in Elyria and Lorain as well as a small Dial-A-Ride service.

The reduction in county dollars has meant that officials have had to return millions of dollars in state and federal grants for which they couldn’t provide matching funds.

County Administrator Jim Cordes said earlier this week that this year alone the county is returning $2.2 million in unused federal money to the Ohio Department of Transportation for redistribution around the state. He estimated that in total, the county has given up roughly $5 million in recent years.

Kokoski said that effectively has made Lorain County a donor to other public transportation systems around the state.

“We’re paying for transit, just not here,” she said.

The proposed levy, which will appear on the May ballot, would bring in $402,804 annually to support transit, according to figures provided by the county.

Beidleman said the need for transit is there, especially for those who don’t have any other way to get to work, medical appointments or even to stores.

“Right now, it you don’t have a car, you’re out of luck,” she said.

Beidleman said she’s hopeful the committee will be able to draw in support from businesses, nonprofits and others who see the need and are willing to contribute time or money to get the issue passed. She said she’d like to see the campaign raise at least $10,000 for yard signs, billboards and possibly even newspaper or cable television advertising.

Kokoski said the levy would only add a few dollars to property tax bills.

“It’s not that much to help your fellow man,” she said. “Even though you might not use it and even though it might not come past your house, it’s needed in the community.”

Commissioner Ted Kalo said he’s glad to see a committee forming to support the transit levy, although he doesn’t think that a similar committee will be needed to support a separate 0.08-mill levy that will go toward funding the Lorain County Crime Lab, where drug and fingerprint evidence is analyzed.

He said that measure, which would bring in $495,759, enjoys wide support from law enforcement, which views the Crime Lab as an essential tool.

An organizational meeting for the transit levy campaign is scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday on the fourth floor of the Lorain County Administration Building. Beidleman said the meeting will run about an hour because any county worker involved in the effort will need to use their lunch hour to attend.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.

  • golfingirl

    What is “visable????” Isn’t it “visible”

    “Visable campaigns,” “snow miles.”

    Not to be a spelling critic, but don’t these people do this for a living?

    • golfingirl

      C-T made the spelling correction. Yeah!!!

    • Guest

      They wait around for Democrat politicians to put out press releases and then publish them as if it were actual news.

  • stillsleepyeyes

    how about a committee that will bring jobs to the area…………oh wait we have one of those that doesn’t do a thing but take up space and collects a paycheck……………….huh tony………..

  • Pablo Jones

    By passing this levy LCT will be able to provide cheap affordable transportation all for the low cost of about $20 per ride.

  • Mark B

    Rais the fairs , i will be voteing NO in both Levies , The State has a crime lab that can be used. My Tax dollars are already supporting 98% of those who ride LCT busses

    • Sue Lawson

      You and me both!!!

  • onesears

    Dial A Ride= Taxi

  • Bill

    “Kokoski said that effectively has made Lorain County a donor to other public transportation systems around the state.

    “We’re paying for transit, just not here,” she said.”

    So…..lets pay for transit elsewhere and fork out some more for a ridiculously low percentage of Lorain County who use the transit.
    What the hell, it’s only a couple of dollars….property tax rates on home owners continues to climb despite rapidly declining house values. Still have to pay for the increased 1.24 mil total of four levies and the individual school levies.
    A few dollars here, a hundred there. The 2 K’s don’t care. It’s like monopoly money to them.

    • Sue Lawson

      Right, just a little added to the many other things we property owners pay for.

      • Mark B

        Free welfare , free Obama phone , free health care , free child care , and now free buss rides . When is the taxpayer gonna get some freebies ?

        • Sue Lawson

          Freebies for us taxpayers? Mark you’re so funny.

  • TRB SR.

    The levy will not pass, although I wish it would. The majority of voters in Lorain County are too mesmerized by the billboard adds posting kids with black eyes (Children’s Services) and the importance of mental health (Nord Center). Taxpayers are historically swayed to vote more $ into those entities and disregard the need for BASIC services like a transportation source to and from places like JVS for under or unemployed people stuck in Elyria, Lorain and other off the main road locations in rural Lorain Co.

    • Mark B

      If you cant provide a ride for yourself to JVS , how you going provide a ride for your self to a Job ?

      • TRB SR.

        You’re SO smart Mark B. I forgot that all of us Americans are born with car keys attached to our ears.

  • Phil Blank

    Sell LCT to RTA or the people running the casino downtown!

  • Robert Ives

    If it’s only running in Elyria and Lorain,let them pay for it!

    • Mark B

      Let the riders pay for it

  • John Davidson

    “It’s not that much to help your fellow man,” she said. “Even though you
    might not use it and even though it might not come past your house,
    it’s needed in the community.” I look at all the taxes that I pay and believe me it appears that I am already helping my fellow man. Maybe they could help themselves for once. Also I will not use it, it will not come past my house, nor will it even come into my community.

  • SniperFire

    People like Kokowski have been running Elyria for decades, and it is a complete disaster thanks to them.

  • Sue Lawson

    Of course it would be on the property owners. Just add it to the public schools, JVS, LCCC, mental health, libraries….

    • Bill

      Also the upcoming levy for the crime lab. I’m sure there are more and we are not even talking about state and federal taxes being shoved down our throat.

      75k salary (part time) for a pajama party girl and her fellow democrat who bankrupts his business and these 2 just don’t get it.
      Mr Williams took a pay cut from his previous job as an engineer to become a commissioner because he cares about this county and has tried countless times to save the county money just to have the childishness antics of the other two stop him.

      • Sue Lawson

        Then we will be stuck with more pensions to pay too.

    • Mark B

      Elyria tax levy , county crime lab levy. Don’t forget our sewer rates are going be raised for the 3rd time to meet EPA guidelines

  • GreatRedeemer

    If were so concerned with helping for public transportation
    then stop the obscene, vacation and sick time payouts. Lest we forget the Mark Stewart payout in April, however his was just one of many.

    http://chronicle.northcoastnow.com/2014/02/16/law-enforcement-veteran-lorain-countys-top-paid-employee-2013

    The taxpayers have been tapped dry.

  • oldruss

    “Chief Deputy Clerk of Courts Beverly Beidleman, who is spearheading a campaign committee . . . .”

    Well now, we have a taxpayer supported bureaucrat from the Clerk of Courts “spearheading” the levy campaign. How nice! Let’s hope, at least, that Beverly is NOT doing any “spearheading” on the taxpayers’ dime!

    • stillsleepyeyes

      Now you know that’s a given, and paid for by the tax payers too……….

  • Chris

    Why do we not all get together and campaign against the levy? All of them. We complain but still let all the misinformed or misfortunate make all the decisions. The few representing the many. If we turn out in larger numbers to vote against them they won’t pass. Stop giving yourselves excusses to not go and vote. Overwellming #s saying NO may get the point across. (please pardon my spelling)

  • 2111

    The voters in this county have spoken many times to what they think about LCT yet haven’t been listened to. No means No. I recall years ago when a levy was turned down the commissioners taking money from the general fund to give to LCT in direct defiance to the voters will. Saying no then was meaningless because they used our money anyway to fund LCT, might as well say no again & make them defy us again.

  • LookBackTwo

    Ever see one of these busses with more than one passenger aboard? What a waste of taxpayer money!

  • LAB1660

    This is one issue on which I will be voting NO. Lorain County Transit does not serve all of Lorain County and as a resident who receives NO SERVICES in my area, I cannot continue to fund something which does not benefit me in any way. I am a proponent of public transportation at reasonable cost to all. It is a misnomer to call this LORAIN County Transit when it serves Elyria, Lorain and Oberlin only.