A renewal means they will continue to collect the same amount as the one that is expiring and usually, that's a good thing as opposed to a replacement. A replacement levy is the same millage but charged against the current property values. However, with our recent property evaluations, many saw the value of their property decline so TARTA is probably better off financially to go with the renewal.
If passed, it will generate $7 million for TARTA. This is in addition to the 1.5-mill levy replaced three years ago that generates $10 million for the agency.
In 2009, income from fares accounted for less than 10% of TARTA's revenue. Roughly 11% of their income came from school contracts for student transportation. This year, because of financial difficulties at Toledo Public Schools, they are cutting back on their TARTA contract.
The other $24.5 million of their 2009 revenue came from tax dollars through levies, the state or the federal government.
And in 2009, their unaudited balance sheet showed they lost roughly half a million dollars.
And now they want us to continue funding them, despite the fact that most all of us have seen our incomes decline, our property values decline and our costs in almost every other area go up.
But to give you an idea of the mindset, here is what TARTA general manager James Gee had to say to the paper:
"Voters historically have understood the need for public transportation and have supported public transit at the ballot box," he said. "Economic times are tough, and we're cognizant that everyone is struggling in the community. With a renewal, there will be no [new] hit on the taxpayer."
Sadly, he's probably right.
But we can be grateful for small things - at least it's not an increase or a sales tax which would have stronger negative repercussions than a simple renewal of an outrageous tax we're already paying.