Cleburne County Commission fails to vote for public transportation
by Laura Camper
Jul 22, 2013 | 3404 views |  0 comments | 85 85 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Cleburne County Commission effectively ended the county’s public transportation program Monday by not allocating $26,588 to continue its operation, said the county administrator after the meeting.

Commissioners were presented a proposal by the East Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission that gave the details of the funding.

The county is asked each year to allocate a local match for a federal grant that pays more than half the cost of the program. This year, the county needed to promise $26,588 for fiscal year 2014, which begins Oct. 1. That money would make the county eligible for $31,706 from the federal government. However, when it came time to vote, only one member, Commissioner Bobby Brooks, called for a vote. The measure died for lack of a second.

The public transportation service provides on-demand transportation for residents. There is no specific route. The general public pays $2 for the first five miles and $1 for each five miles after that. Senior citizens and people with disabilities pay $1 for the first five miles and 50 cents each additional five miles.

The County Commission’s deadline for participating in the program is Aug. 9, said County Administrator Steve Swafford.

Brooks said he supported the program.

“It’s a service to our people,” Brooks said. “It’s not much of a cost.”

Brooks said the county often gets other grants to help fund the service, and is reimbursed a portion of the $26,588. Commissioner Emmett Owen also mentioned the reimbursements during the meeting, and asked if the money would be returned to the general fund.

After the meeting commissioners Laura Cobb and Benji Langley said they were unaware that the allocation had to be approved that day. Brooks said he had understood that the allocation had to be approved Monday, though.

“Why was it not brought up until now?” Cobb asked, when she heard of the deadline. “I haven’t been able to do my research.”

Swafford said the proposal is given to the county by the East Alabama Commission. He didn’t have the numbers until just before the meeting. However, he did mention the allocation was coming up during the work session two weeks ago, Swafford said. Swafford also included a note on the agenda emailed to the commissioners that the allocation would be on the voting agenda, he added.

“We’ve been doing the transportation program this way every summer for the last at least 18 years,” Swafford said.

During the meeting, Swafford told the commissioners, “If we do not adopt the resolution, we will not be participating as of Oct. 1.”

Both Cobb and Langley said the issue should come up at the County Commission’s next work session on Aug. 5. The commission could decide then how to proceed.

The County Commission’s next meeting is scheduled for Aug. 12.

In other business the commissioners:

-Accepted the resignations of Tracy Lambert from the Cleburne County Hospital Board and Joe Braden from the Cleburne County Board of Equalization.

-Authorized the county engineer to advertise for bids for annual maintenance items such as fuel, metal pipe, gravel, concrete pipe and traffic striping. The awarded companies would be asked to fill orders on an as-needed basis. The bids will be opened at the Aug. 5 commission meeting.

-Approved an agreement with the Alabama Department of Transportation for computerized mapping of the county.

Staff writer Laura Camper: 256-235-3545. On Twitter @LCamper_Star.

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