September 30, 2014

Elyria
Cloudy
60°F
test

Voters reject levy to fund Lorain County Transit

Bev Beidelman, chairwoman of the Lorain County Transit levy campaign, center, looks at election results on her iPad at Applebee's on Tuesday night. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

Bev Beidelman, chairwoman of the Lorain County Transit levy campaign, center, looks at election results on her iPad at Applebee’s on Tuesday night. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

ELYRIA – For the second year in a row, Lorain County voters have rejected a property tax levy to support Lorain County Transit.

According to unofficial election returns from the Lorain County Board of Elections, 16,746 voters, or 58 percent, cast ballots against the 0.065-mill levy. The returns showed that 12,180 voters, or 42 percent, were in favor of the measure.

Bev Beidelman, chair of a committee that had been waging a small campaign to get the levy passed, said she was disappointed by the results, but is willing to try again in the future.

“It didn’t happen for us this time, but you can tell the people we’re not giving up,” she said at a small gathering of levy supporters at the Applebee’s in Elyria. “We’re not giving up. Lorain County will one day have good transportation.”

County Commissioner Ted Kalo said he would be willing to back another levy push as soon as the November general election, which is expected to have a higher voter turnout.

Commissioner Lori Kokoski said she isn’t certain yet whether she’d favor trying again, although she believes improving public transportation is important for the county. She said it might be better to put the money the commissioners would spend placing the issue on the ballot on increasing transit services.

Although Lorain County Transit once boasted a county-spanning system, budget cutbacks have trimmed services back to two routes running between Elyria and Lorain and a limited Dial-A-Ride service.

Had the levy passed, the owner of a home valued at $100,000 would have paid $2.28 annually. It would have brought in $402,804 annually, money that county officials said would have been used to provide matching money to bring in additional state and federal dollars.

Commissioner Tom Williams, who voted against putting the levy on the ballot, said he wasn’t surprised by the levy’s defeat.

“(The last levy) was defeated in May of 2013 and they went and asked for more money and I think that was a mistake,” Williams said.

Last year, when the county commissioners had sought a smaller 0.04-mill levy, 59 percent of voters cast ballots against the measure.

Beidelman and other levy supporters said despite the defeat, increasing the services offered by transit remains an important issue for many in the community. She said that’s the message that the committee will focus on sharing with voters if another transit levy goes on the ballot.

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


  • SniperFire

    Why try to stick homeowners with this tax? Home owners have cars.

    Dumb.

    • oldruss

      If you want to take more money from the taxpayers, at least make this a sales tax, so everyone gets to pay their fair share. Property taxes unfairly target homeowners; and income taxes unfairly target those who actually work for a living. But a sales tax allows everyone to kick something into the pot.

      • HankKwah

        Exactly what I was thinking. Enough with the taxes on my property.

      • Bill Love

        it will never happen that would be to fair people dont want fair just a hand out. remember us home owner are privileged because we worked hard and saved to buy a house.

      • Johnathan W

        Well said Russ, you his that right on the nail both of your comments

    • mdr12372

      Not necessarily.

  • oldruss

    It’s over, but we still do not know how many riders LCT has on a daily basis. How are voters supposed to make an informed decision as to whether or not shoveling more of our tax dollars into public transportation is worthwhile or not, if we don’t know the real numbers? Before the Commissioners AGAIN run this one up the flag pole, they’d better release all the data on ridership, operation’s costs, etc.

    • Sis Delish

      This is a great opportunity for the Private sector to create jobs… With all the tourists who will flood the city once the Midway Mall bridge/intersection is complete, the need for PediCabs to tour the visitors around the sites can also be hired by folks who need to get around.

      Up next: Horse & Carriages with plenty of shovel toting pooper scoopers, just like on Mackinaw Island!

    • golfingirl

      You are supposed to just vote “yes” on all new taxes.

      How dare you ask for any facts to allow you to make an educated decision at the voting booth.

      Where is your compassion?

  • luvmytoaster

    Why doesn’t a no vote ever mean NO? A yes vote is perfectly acceptable for the time being, until a renewal is needed. But when the constituents vote “no”, they just keep bringing it back – there should be a few years in between another vote for something that was shot down…..

    • Sue Lawson

      Because they’re hoping that eventually we will get sick of hearing about and vote yes. Not going to happen!

      • luvmytoaster

        I think that is unfortunately what happens most of the time…..

  • torbs

    I think that compared to other places I’ve lived, Elyrians pay very little in property tax. And I would suppose you only understand the transportation problem if it effects you some how…. but what I can’t agree with is ‘sticking’ it to a sales tax. We do close/lose more businesses than we gain. So maybe you should show documentation that that idea is even worth it… in the mean time, a taxi ride averaveges 2-4hr wait… or you can just call 911 like everyone else! Because tax payers aren’t picking ‘that’ tab up! You people are amazing. Just say you don’t want to pay the money ‘this’ way-because you sure do lose it ‘that’ way.

    • Mark B

      If it was a sales tax at least those who use the system would be contributing . The property owner gets a new tax every election day, enough is enough.
      Frankly it should not be subsidized by any taxes. It should be run as a business, and if it is not self sustaining then let it go away.

    • luvmytoaster

      Confusing…..are you for or against the tax? You talk about Elyrians paying very little in property tax – then talk about the length of time for a taxi ride being a 2-4 hr wait – then calling 911 because tax payers aren’t picking “that” tab up (which I’m sure they do to some extent)…..

      • Mark B

        Its time for the Entitlement Group to start paying their fair share , like Obama-Da-Clown says

    • Bill Love

      we have one of the lowest sale taxes in the state

      • golfingirl

        And we would like to keep it that way!

        • Bill Love

          i would rather raised the sales tax so everybody is paying in to it then just keep trying to raise the taxes on the home owners

          • golfingirl

            I agree with you there……

          • Sue Lawson

            Me too Bill, but you know that the money would probably be spent elsewhere. I wonder why they don’t try to get a higher sales tax to fund this. Put that on the ballot and see what happens.

          • Itsmommy

            If you read the article you should have noticed the annual extra tax on a $100,000 home $2.28. Seems to me homeowners would more than that annually if sales tax is raised. Perhaps all of you who are complaining are cutting of your noses to spite your faces. In other words, voting against your own best interests. Think about it.

  • GreatRedeemer

    If you keep doing the same thing, why do you expect a
    different result?

    It’s unlikely given the limited routes that broad county support for property taxes will be found. Unlike Cuyahoga county where most cities are served in some fashion, LCT only serves a few cities. It is what it is.

    If you want to float something try a ¼ sales tax perhaps but
    don’t repeat history and do it without a vote.

    The problem with the county Commissioner system frankly is
    it’s outdated. The larger cities interests are often heard and politically
    reacted to. Yes, there is a need for transportation to people of limited means
    but every property owner in the county sees no benefit and it becomes a charity
    act.

    • Itsmommy

      …and God forbid we do anything that might be considered charity! I do not need charity from anyone. I am one who donates to others willingly and happily but, my daughter doesn’t drive because of a medical condition. She works but has great difficulty finding transportation to get to work. If she can talk a cab company into picking her up, the flat rate, without a tip to go 2 miles is $10. She makes $9.95 so, with a tip, it costs more than an hours pat to go one way. Did it ever occur to any of you that maybe better public transportation could bring more revenue into Lorain County? If it was easier for people to get to work or shopping areas, maybe more people would work and shop. If more people work, more people will spend money, hopefully locally. If more people spend more money, there will be more jobs. All of this for an annual investment of $2.28 IF your property is worth $100,000.

  • levtrotsky

    Why not subsidize the private sector cab companies with the grant monies and give the needy riders a ride-coupon? A lot cheaper than another layer of government employees w/ benefits and busses running with one or two people.

    • golfingirl

      Would it include a tip for the drivers?

      • levtrotsky

        indubitably!

  • golfingirl

    Better “lace them up.”

    Looks like you will be walking more.

    Again, no facts from LCT to justify any levy. Simple question could not be answered…..how many riders used the service on any given day?

    Maybe they can provide transportation on select days during the week, and appointments and shopping can be done on those days?

    Work around the transit schedule, instead of the other way around.

  • golfingirl

    Wonder how they got to Applebees?

    And why was the photo taken from outside through the window?

    Just curious.

  • TheRustyScupper

    Maybe, just maybe if we knew the facts, we could have understood the need for the transportation levy/monies. But, with lack of data such as ridership (as mentioned by “oldruss”), how can we make an informed decision? I am/was firmly against the levy. No hard info, no bucks. I am not about to take a politician’s word that the tax money is needed. Do we remember, “If you like your doctor . . .”, “Read my lips . . .”, “More transparency . . .”, etc)

  • Joey Lee

    http://www.dot.state.oh.us/Divisions/Planning/Transit/Documents/Programs/Publication/StatusOfPublicTransitinOhio2012.pdf this report via the ODOT website, is the 2012 report using 2011 data. I believe this was before the massive cuts. I hope this well help shine some light and help folks with the data that no one wants to provide.

    • TheRustyScupper

      Thanks for the link. Let’s see . . . 97,000 rides, one-year, six drivers = 36 riders average per driver per day. Even before the cuts, this is not a good number. In other words, about $185 per rider-trip in tax dollars, not counting matching funds ??? Would it not be cheaper to hire a chauffeur for each rider ? THIS IS WHAT THE POLITICANS DO NOT WANT YOU TO KNOW !!!

    • Joey Lee

      what you must pay close attention to is the cost per passenger trip. Not this I hate transit math. There is a difference between a Fixed route trip versus a Paratransit Trip. Fixed route like LCT’s 1/51 and 2/52 is more cost control cause the route stays the same everyday. Unlike Paratransit which is different everyday. Now LCT does choose to outsource there operations to First Transit if I remember right. Which in itself can be a cost saving measure…sometimes. With LCT only using LTV vehicles, they should try and run the vans with less then 16 seats to try and avoid the CDL crap. And hire drivers with a basic license, there by only having to pay the driver a minimal cost. The LCT cost for a fixed route ride is about $8.92 and the one way fare is almost $3.50. The next step for Lorain County Tax Payers is to ask First Transit how much there making per hour on there contract. And maybe just maybe its time to start looking at either taking the contract to another firm or maybe trying to stay in house.

    • oldruss

      Why couldn’t the Levy Committee or the county commissioners or the administration at LCT have provided numbers to the voters BEFORE the election? I, among others, have been using this C-T board to ask, multiple times, for this information. Surely Kalo, Kokoski, Beidelman, et. al. were aware of this C-T discussion, and yet, they completely ignored it.

      • luvmytoaster

        They could have….they just didn’t want to…..

  • James Coleman

    ….did Bev take a bus to Applebee’s? Or did she use her ipad to get a ride from Ted do-nothing Kalo or Lori in-competant whatever….must be nice to afford those little luxuries in life on the taxpayers dime….please clone Tom Williams…and put the other two on a bus to Haiti…..

    • luvmytoaster

      Thank you James – I agree totally! The Lorain County Commissioners, being mostly democratic in the past, have been a complete disappointment.

  • mscartor

    What a shame Lorain County voters cannot understand how important a properly funded and functioning public transportation systems benefits the community.

    A good community with a high quality of life is not built on paying little tax and having subpar or non-existent services like public transit.

    Lorain County and all of North East Ohio is so far behind our international peers in funding and operating high calibre public services that is it just sad.

    If Lorain County was across the lake in Canada or in another western country, there would be buses running every 15 to 30 minutes touching all areas of the built up area of the county.

    • Sis Delish

      Most other areas with robust transit systems are transporting folks between home and work… Lorain County needs to have the destination (jobs) before the transportation can make sense.

      Question is, therefore, why waste taxpayer dollars if the tax base isn’t there to provide the necessary levels of funding? The Voters understand this.

      Please don’t compare Lorain County to Canada… a better comparison would be to identify a specific “county” in Ontario Province, for example… to compare a County to a Country is stretching it and disingenuous at best.

      • mscartor

        Lorain County has a population of over 300,000 people, including over 65,000 people living in the city of Lorain.
        While Lorain has job centers, it is also a suburban zone for Cleveland, and there are plenty of people commuting between the two areas.
        There is more than enough population to support a properly operating transit system.

        We have to stop telling ourselves it cannot be done, and actually work at putting out a properly funded and functioning transit network.

        I moved here from a region with outstanding public transportation, and it still boggles my mind just how enslaved people here are to their cars.
        In the region I come from, teens and kids take transit themselves to get to after school activities, lessons, the mall, or the city, etc. Here my co-workers are constantly spending their evenings shuttling their kids everywhere and having to waste so much gas and time taking their kids everywhere. That is just one example of how transit could benefit all Lorain County residents.

        Of course the whole attitude in this region has to change, and people have to stop acting like transit in just for poor people.

        • Simon Jester

          Or we could just keep doing things how we’ve done them, and you can go peddle your progressive nonsense elsewhere.

          • mscartor

            And North East Ohio can continue to decline and not be an attractive place for people to want to grow business or their families.
            Because that is the exact attitude as to why this region is failing.

          • Itsmommy

            Are you really that afraid of progress? You notice how those two words are alike? PROGRESSive-PROGRESS
            Webster’s defines progress as:: “the process of improving or developing something over a period of time”. Evidently, you don’t want improvement. You can call me progressive any time you want. I’m proud to want to see improvement in Lorain County.

        • SniperFire

          ‘ it still boggles my mind just how enslaved people here are to their cars. ‘

          It’s not slavery, dope, it is freedom. Homeowners happen to enjoy their cars. If you want buses, find a way for the users to actually pay for it.

          • Simon Jester

            Seriously.

            It’s like all the dou***bags that move from Kalifornia or New York to get away from the Charlie Foxtrot, and then immediately start trying to ruin the state the just moved to.

          • mscartor

            And how about homeowners start paying for the true cost of their home ownership and we get rid of the biggest welfare program ever, the Mortgage Tax Deduction.

          • SniperFire

            You are deflecting because you have no argument.

          • Itsmommy

            I believe, he was trying to help you understand that a reliable public transportation system, something I believe you think of as ‘welfare’, would be more beneficial to our county than the tax break you are getting for your mortgage tax deduction (that could also certainly be considered ‘welfare’). Both are funded by tax payers, in a way. Why is your tax break more important than public transportation that would benefit our entire county?

          • Simon Jester

            Because a tax “break”, isn’t. It’s just less taxes extorted by the local .gov.

            Increased taxes for a program that’s absolutely worthless? Yeah, no.

            Again, (to paraphrase a great man) How much of my money are you entitled to? As long as we abide by the results of elections, You have your answer.

            Don’t like it? Move somewhere more enlightened.

          • luvmytoaster

            Seriously? You’re blaming home ownership for the counties or countries decline? Can we also look at the IRS tax code?

          • Itsmommy

            Your ignorance is showing! Did you not read what the man said? I, like mscartor, came from a city with public transportation. Even people with much nicer homes then I’ve seen in Lorain County and with multiple cars, used public transportation. It wasn’t a matter of money. It was a convenience they used to avoid sitting in traffic and paying for parking or wear and tear on there vehicles. They would grab a cup of coffee and the morning newspaper and hop on a train or bus to go to work. Is this concept something you can understand? Public transportation is not just for those who can’t buy a house or a car.

          • SniperFire

            ‘ I, like mscartor, came from a city with public transportation.’

            And you now live, dope, in a place where people have the freedom to jump in their cars.

          • Itsmommy

            So, you’re implying that I have more freedom now when my only choice is to take my car than I did when I could choose between taking my car or taking a train, taxi or bus ? Geez, who’s the ‘dope’? I had more freedom when I had choices. Get it?!

        • Sis Delish

          Lorain County send its apologies to you and your family…

          … but, you knew what you were moving into when you did you due diligence, right?

        • golfingirl

          Even if they had transit in Elyria and Lorain, I would not allow my children to ride it alone.

          Have you noticed the crime rate in these cities since you moved here from your “land of make-believe?”

          In a perfect world, it all makes sense, in Lorain County, it does not.

          The logic that “build it and they will come” may have played well in Hollywood, but not in Lorain County. This is not a thriving metropolis.

          I am one of those who “shuttle” my kids around. I had the children, I take on the responsibility of transporting them. I do not expect other taxpayers to pay for their trips to the mall.

          So where exactly where did you come from?

          • Itsmommy

            LOL! You do know the ‘Hollywood’ line you quoted was from a movie about building a baseball stadium, right? That’s so funny because the city of Avon built the Lake Erie Crushers Baseball Stadium and I’ve been there several times. They always have a good crowd. They built it and people DID come! They don’t just get baseball fans, they also hold concerts there. Its a nice revenue maker for Avon. Good things can happen for Lorain County residents but only if they are willing to make an investment in their communities. As long as people are backward-thinking and unwilling to invest $2.28 per year in making an advancement, it won’t happen. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you and others keep saying we cant, then we won’t.

        • Itsmommy

          Amen! It takes a small-minded person to not understand the rewards of this $2.28 annual investment. For goodness sakes, that’s less than a penny a day! I agree with you. The benefits would far out way the small cost.

    • Mark B

      Maybe because they continue to try to fund it on the backs of property owners

    • Simon Jester

      Bloody well move to Canada or Europe then, if it’s so much better there.

      I’ve actually spent time in said other western countries ( western Europe). Public transit is as much geographical ( the place is small compared to the CONUS) as it is cultural ( See my first comment, I don’t want to be Irish, no matter how nice their country is)

      So yeah, If we’re that backwards that it offends you, friggin’ move.

      • mscartor

        Believe me people will move because the quality of life is low here. Or they move into a county that provides transit like Cuyahoga.

        • luvmytoaster

          “Believe me people will move because the quality of life is low here”……has there been some sort of mass movement that I wasn’t aware of?
          Was the quality of life better last year? The year before?

        • Simon Jester

          Enjoy Cuyahoga, and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

          One more of your kind won’t change the political structure there, and it’ll definitely increase the average IQ of Lorain county.