hall meeting Thursday on possible NOMBL takeover
By Jeff Gallatin
Published Feb. 9, 2005
hoping the public puts the petal to the metal with strong opinions
tomorrow (Feb. 10) in a town hall meeting about the possible takeover
of the North Olmsted Municipal Bus Line by the Regional Transit
Set for 7:30
p.m. at the North Olmsted Middle School Auditorium, 27351 Butternut
Ridge Road, officials noted that a strong public showing in late
2005 at a public hearing helped stall RTA's consideration of eliminating
or altering the 53 Bus Route in North Olmsted.
"A lot of citizens
showed up then and let RTA know they didn't want that," said Ward
1 Councilman Duane Limpert, who has helped organize tomorrow's meeting.
"We're hoping a similar expression of opinions will let RTA and
other officials know how people are feeling about this."
T. Musial said it should be an interesting evening.
a lot of people to attend," Musial said.
been passing out fliers and a lot of people have been talking about
petitions opposing NOMBL being taken over also will be available
for people to sign.
have their chance to be heard," Musial said.
city officials would be present as well as ones from NOMBL and Rep.
Dennis Kucinich, who has also been active in the fight by North
Olmsted officials to try and prevent the takeover. He said RTA officials
also would be welcome if they would like to attend and speak.
we'll take all viewpoints in this," Limpert said. "This is a democracy.
Maybe people will tell us they'd rather ride an RTA bus, but right
now I don't think that's the case."
Manager Joe Calabrese said he'd heard about the meeting Monday from
members of the news media. He said he would consider having someone
from RTA attend.
about it Tuesday with Mayor Musial and see what the options are,"
last week the meeting was being set up to address concerns about
the situation. He criticized RTA for not holding its own public
hearing on the matter. Calabrese said RTA had already held budget
hearings about the North Olmsted and Maple Heights bus lines, but
said he would discuss the matter of other hearings with the RTA
president of the AFSCME Local, which represents the NOMBL employees,
said the meeting is for more than just North Olmsted residents.
"It's for people
from Fairview Park, Westlake, all the suburbs which NOMBL serves
-- even Lorain County people who ride NOMBL," Whiting said. "These
people need to let all the officials know that this will affect
and hurt a lot of people with any changes for NOMBL."
that is one of the primary concerns that council members are hearing.
"There is tremendous
concern about service cuts or changes," Limpert said. "People are
afraid that in one year, two or five years, RTA will cut a lot of
the western suburb lines or services and just bring it down to some
park-n-rides. If RTA would fulfill its agreements and provide services
it had agreed to like the bus garage, we could get this done. Right
now, RTA believes that all the equipment, uniforms, people and everything
are just coming from them. I'd like to remind them that a lot of
the taxes paying for that come from North Olmsted and the surrounding
previous statements that RTA intends to provide the same service.
there also could be discussion of other issues, such as allegations
at the last council meeting and in a Feb. 1 letter from Kucinich
that the RTA negotiating team will only discuss merging or absorbing
NOMBL and the Maple Heights lines.
negotiation when you're not open to different possibilities," Musial
that isn't the case.
have always been willing to discuss the possibility of another contract,"
he said, noting that RTA officials have consistently offered the
two cities the chance to operate the lines if they can find the
funds needed. He said city officials have brought up possible transition
periods in the discussions.
said that the issue of bus stops for students in the North Olmsted
School District, which was raised in another letter from Kucinich
last week, has already been solved with the agreement of the district
to place stops at the schools.
have said they need to know by late March whether or not the merger
will take place. After the last five-year pact between RTA and North
Olmsted expired, both agencies agreed to an extension through the
end of March.
the two sides met on Feb. 4 with another negotiating session scheduled
ON THE NET:
NORTH OLMSTED MUNICIPAL BUS LINE:
REGIONAL TRANSIT AUTHORITY: