WILMINGTON — An annual grant to the Wilmington Transit System (WTS) taxi service has been cut $100,000.
WTS Director Tony Morris advised city council that all public transit systems in Ohio are facing reduced funding from the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), which Morris attributed to state budget balancing.
“I just want to assure you we’re not done trying to find funds. I’m going to make a trip to Columbus tomorrow, and talk to the transit administrators,” Morris said Thursday night.
Ridership in WTS last year was about 149,000, and this year that’s expected to increase to 155,000, he said.
ODOT frowns upon the option of increasing fare rates, said Morris, indicating he sent an email to ODOT about that approach and they were not receptive to it, telling him he needs to look for other revenue.
“We’ve got some possibilities,” Morris reported to city council. “This is a very important part of our community, and I know you all understand that.”
City council heard a presentation about a proposed indoor running track at Wilmington College. The project is inspired by the late WC cross country athlete Jenna Parlette, who broke three school records during her time at the college.
During a cross country race in Indiana in 2013, she was leading but meters before the finish line collapsed. Three days later, she died.
The presentation was led by Parlette’s mother Lisa Parlette and WC Associate Professor of Business Administration Angela Mitchell. They emphasized that both the community and college would benefit from a running center, and that both athletes and residents looking for a morning workout would benefit.
State Sen. Bob Peterson has told representatives of the Jenna Parlette Memorial Foundation that if they can raise a half to two-thirds of the project cost, they would be in a position to be considered for 2018 state budget deliberations. With that in mind, project leaders are hoping to secure $5.2 million by January 2018, said Mitchell.
To provide the fundraisers with a positive talking point, Wilmington City Council members unanimously gave a vote of support to the project.
Also at city council:
• Residents were reminded to return the form they recently received in the mail if they are choosing the smaller toter (trash can) instead of the larger-size trash can as the city transitions to automated route collections in early October.
So far, the city has received 300 requests for the small toters; if a householder prefers the larger-size toter, they do not need to reply to the recent mailing.
City officials reported there was an error in the mayor’s office phone number on the back of the mailed flyer — listed in case residents have questions about the change in trash collection. The phone number should have been listed as 937-382-5458.
• Tyler Williams, co-chair of the Campaign for Wilmington’s Future, spoke during the public comment section of the council meeting about the group’s public forum in The Murphy Theatre 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22. Those attending the forum can hear from city officials as to why they think it’s important to pass a proposed 0.5 percent temporary municipal earnings tax increase.
• Donatos Pizza in Wilmington has filed with the Ohio Division of Liquor Control for a new D1 alcohol permit. A D1 permit allows beer only for on-premises consumption or in original sealed containers for carry-out only until 1 a.m.
• Resident Paul Hunter offered several ideas to address cost concerns related to the city’s curbside recycling service. One thought is to negotiate with the Clinton County Solid Waste District to raise their recycling contribution back to the same level it was prior to last year when, according to Hunter, it was reduced by $5,000.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768 or on Twitter @GHuffenberger.