Courier Staff Writer
10-15 Transit bit the bullet and paid an outstanding invoice.
The 10-15 Transit Advisory Board approved the payment of nearly $12,000 to Chariton Valley Planning & Development at its meeting Thursday morning.
“The board voted months ago not to appropriate those dollars, but there have been some changes in the circumstances since then,” said Jefferson County Supervisor Lee Dimmitt.
In the past, the reluctance to pay the invoice was because some counties in Area 15 Regional Planning felt they were being billed twice for the same service, said Wapello County Supervisor Greg Kenning.
Two regional planning organizations exist in southeast Iowa: Area 15 Regional Planning and RPA 17 (Chariton Valley).
The invoice before the board on Thursday was for a total of $12,000 that had not been paid to RPA 17 from 2007 to 2012.
“The arm wrestling contest was five counties sitting on the board saying they had already been paying for planning through [Area 15 Regional Planning],” Dimmitt said. “Davis County was getting hammered twice.”
Ottumwa Transit Director Dave Silverio said he began talking to Chariton Valley six weeks ago and understands both parties’ feelings on the matter.
“But what it breaks down to is in these times of funding difficulties to make purchases, particularly buses and vans ... for $12,000 I can get $100,000 in funding,” Silverio said.
The funding had been held, Silverio said, because 10-15 Transit had not paid the $12,000 it owed to Chariton Valley.
“We can argue what’s right and wrong, who’s horrible and who isn’t, but basically, guys, we can pay $12,000 for $100,000 in funding for buses — and we need it,” Silverio said. “It doesn’t matter if you think we need Chariton or not. Let’s get done with it, put it in the past and move forward.”
Dimmitt, who had originally opposed paying the bill, said “how we arrived at this point is really irrelevant now.
“My position is from an economic perspective, it does make sense,” he said.
Also discussed at the advisory board’s meeting:
• The board approved the Fairfield Hy-Vee shuttle service contract, which will begin in April and operate from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesdays. Riders will have to call 10-15 Transit ahead of time to schedule a ride.
• Silverio outlined 10-15 Transit’s revenue streams from its 10 counties in January. Wapello County brought in the most money (more than $10,000), while Keokuk County brought in the least amount (less than $3,500). But Silverio noted that while this does show how each county is doing financially, it doesn’t necessarily show how the county is doing in terms of ridership.
“I think really the focus is on providing services so we as counties can justify the existence of 10-15 Transit anyway,” Dimmitt said. “Obviously we’ve got to have the dollars to keep our doors open, so if we’re providing services and being utilized, that’s a good thing.”
• Silverio also pointed out that fuel expenses are down compared to this time last year.
“The ridership is there and going up, but we are working very, very hard to make intelligent trips,” he said. “We’re spending a lot on fuel but not what we were last year, and it sure hasn’t gone down.”