Additional funding for Scotts Bluff County’s public transit system was approved by the County Board Monday night.
The commissioners approved spending $120,000 to replace two older Handi-Bus buses that had high mileage, repair and lift issues. 80% is covered by federal funds, 10% by state funds, and the remaining 10% ($12,000) is the county’s obligation.
Also approved was a request by Public Transit Manager Shari Hinze for an additional supplemental agreement with the federal and state governments to provide additional funding through the remainder of the fiscal year which ends June 30th. Hinze is asking for $87,000 from the feds and another $21,000 from the state.
Hinze says the bus maintenance, overtime for the additional hours the Tri-City Roadrunrunner operates, higher gas prices and first year expenses have made it difficult. Hinze says “It has been very expensive and a learning experience, we’re hoping we are going to do better but this year we need some help.”
Administrative assistant Curt Richter says ridership continues to trend upward with the warmer weather and as more people go to bus stops rather than request the more expensive door to door service
The commissioners also approved a new three year contract for the County’s communications workers dating back to July 1st 2017. The contract will run through June 30th of 2020.