5-Percent Levy Is Approved

By JOSELYN KING

Staff Writer

BENWOOD – Benwood residents will see a 5 percent levy increase for Ohio Valley Regional Transit Authority bus service on their ballots when they go to the polls in the Nov. 4 general election.

City Council on Tuesday unanimously passed an ordinance increasing the bus levy by 5 percent instead of the 15 percent requested by OVRTA.

Benwood leaders opposed the 15 percent increase because of what they see as decreasing ridership.

OVRTA is seeking more funding at the local level as it expects to receive less federal funding in the coming months.

“The way I look at it, the federal government tells them what size buses they have to have, so the federal government can give them the money needed to buy those buses,” Mayor Ed Kuca, a member of the OVRTA board, said. “They’re not needed in my opinion. If it’s going to come out of OVRTA’s general fund, I would say buy smaller buses. Being a board member, that’s what I’m going to say.”

Buses provide service to Benwood from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day, and Kuca said he and Police Chief Frank Longwell have discussed riding the buses to determine just how many people are utilizing them, and what OVRTA’s issues are.

He invited council members to join them.

In other matters, a flag retirement service by the Benwood American Legion is set for 1 p.m. Saturday at Benwood City Park. The event is open to the public, and anyone having a flag in need of retirement is welcome to bring it for proper and respectful disposal, said Benwood American Legion commander Bob Kish.

Council also set the date for Halloween events in the city to take place the night of Oct. 31. Trick or treating will be from 5:30-6:30 p.m., followed by a parade and council members distribution of awards and treats in Benwood City Park.