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Brunswick public hearing to focus on county transit merger

  • 21295490

    Medina County Commissioners Pat Geissman, left, and Tim Smith gave Brian Nowak, executive director of the Medina County Drug Abuse Commission, a resolution proclaiming Oct. 23-31 "Red Ribbon Celebration Week."

    BOB FINNAN / GAZETTE

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It appears the long-discussed merger between the Brunswick Transit Alternative and Medina County Public Transit will happen.

They have “talked about merging for the last year and a half,” county Administrator Scott Miller said at the county commissioners meeting Wednesday. “I think Brunswick has decided to move forward with that.”

The Brunswick Service Department will hold a public hearing at 6:30 p.m. Monday in council chambers, 4095 Center Road.

Public transit director Mike Salamone said Brunswick City Council’s Committee-of-the-Whole approved the merger Sept. 9.

Brunswick Ward 2 Councilman Nick Hanek said many of the details still need to be worked out.

“If this all goes through, we are trying to get this done by Dec. 31,” Salamone said. “If we can get everything done by the end of the year, we can start fresh for reporting purposes.”

The cities of Medina and Wadsworth already use the county public transit service.

If it’s approved, Salamone said there would be few changes for Brunswick residents in the first year, other than perhaps tweaking the hours of service.

In the second year, rates would go up from 50 cents to $1 per ride for fixed routes. Salamone said in the third year, the rate would be $1.50, which matches county public transit’s standard trip rate.

“The city of Brunswick would pay $45,000, just like Medina and Wadsworth are paying,” Salamone said. “The Office of Older Adults would cover about 40 to 50 percent of our ridership.”

Brunswick is purchasing three new vehicles. If the merger is approved, county public transit will acquire them for $1 apiece.

Public transit would swap out three old buses that were purchased by Brunswick in 2010 with the new acquisitions. Brunswick also has two other buses it received from Akron in February, which brings the bus total to five.

Council approved $189,575 on Monday to purchase the three buses. It received a grant for $147,060 from the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority to pay for a portion of the vehicles. The city will cover the remaining $42,515.

Salamone said Brunswick also received two federal grants worth more than $300,000 that would be transferred to county public transit. Brunswick received an Urbanized Area Formula Funding Grant worth $283,977. Of that amount, $75,853 could be used for operating expenses if there is a merger.

He said county public transit also would receive a federal Capital Investment Grant worth $34,946, which could be used for buses or facility upgrades.

Miller said if it’s approved, he would draft a memorandum of understanding, or a similar agreement document, for the next three years “to ease into the changes.”

He said the Brunswick Transit Alternative name would disappear, if approved, and be replaced by Medina County Public Transit.

Salamone said the county public transit has been running the Brunswick service since 2010.

“We’ve been running the system already,” he said.

As per the contract, county public transit has been paying Brunswick drivers’ salary and benefits, in addition to insurance on the vehicles. Brunswick paid for maintenance of the buses and fuel costs.

Hanek said among the details that need to be worked out are allowing free rides for disabled people, veterans and seniors.

In other news

21295490

Medina County Commissioners Pat Geissman, left, and Tim Smith gave Brian Nowak, executive director of the Medina County Drug Abuse Commission, a resolution proclaiming Oct. 23-31 "Red Ribbon Celebration Week."

BOB FINNAN / GAZETTE Enlarge

  • Commissioners presented Brian Nowak, executive director of the Medina County Drug Abuse Commission, a proclamation for Red Ribbon Celebration Week Oct. 23-31. It’s designed to raise public awareness by educating county residentsz about the dangers of illegal drug use. The goal is to involve families, schools, businesses, churches, law enforcement agencies and service organizations in all aspects of the Red Ribbon campaign.
  • Nowak said Fortaleza, a new drug and alcohol treatment facility, recently opened in Brunswick at 1839 Pearl Road, Suite 202. Its phone number is (330) 460-0020. “ ‘Fortaleza’ means strength in Spanish,” Nowak said. “The mission of Fortaleza is to strengthen families and communities in Medina County.” It also has facilities in Elyria and Cleveland.
  • Commissioners awarded a bid for the Medina County Facilities Repair and Restoration project to Coon Restoration and Sealants Inc., of Louisville, Ohio, for $621,900.
  • Laura Toth, director of the Medina County Office for Older Adults, said open enrollment for Medicaid starts Saturday. Her office is taking appointments to review benefits and to offer people options on their Medicare choices. For information, call (330) 723-9518.
  • James Dull has been appointed as a representative for the city of Wadsworth to the Medina County Advisory Council on Aging. His term will expire Sept. 30, 2019.
  • Mike Matasich was appointed as the delegate representing the county on the Medina County Western Reserve Area Agency on Aging. His term will expire Dec. 31, 2019.

Gazette reporter Halee Heironimus contributed to this story.

Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or rfinnan@medina-gazette.com.



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