Archive for Thursday, January 6, 2011

Tiblow Transit budget picture likely not as dire as thought

Dana Wright, pictured, is a bus driver with the Tiblow Transit. Department head Rita Hoag discusses the transportation system and why it is so important to Bonner residents. To arrange for a ride with the Tiblow Transit, call (913) 422-5355.

Dana Wright, pictured, is a bus driver with the Tiblow Transit. Department head Rita Hoag discusses the transportation system and why it is so important to Bonner residents. To arrange for a ride with the Tiblow Transit, call (913) 422-5355.

January 6, 2011

The city of Bonner Springs soon should know more details on its plans for the former EMS house behind City Hall and a funding shortfall for the Tiblow Transit.

The two are tied together because the Bonner Springs City Council members in November discussed how the city might use funds it obtains from the sale of a trailer used by EMS employees before their new quarters were completed at the fire station. Council members thought using some of the funds to raze the unsafe former EMS house would be appropriate, but others were concerned about a lack of county funding for the Tiblow Transit.

At the council’s December meeting, John Helin, city manager, said the city had received an estimate for the cost of razing the EMS house, but it wouldn’t move forward because the city hadn’t completed the deal with the winning bidder on the trailer.

The highest bid for the trailer was $13,550, but the highest bidder wasn’t able to make good on the bid immediately.

Rita Hoag, city clerk, said the city was still working with the highest bidder and another bidder on the trailer’s sale, and the highest bidder had indicated it would move forward with purchasing the trailer, so the city hopes to get that resolved this week.

Hoag said after further review, the reduced county funding for Tiblow Transit may not hit the city as hard as previously thought, though the city will know more once it learns how much funding it will receive from the state.

In November, the city learned the Wyandotte Area Agency on Aging would reduce the funding it provides for the Bonner Springs Senior Center and completely cut funding it provides for Tiblow Transit, which was $4,550 in 2010.

But Hoag said there were several ways the city could find savings within the budget and not cut service.

“We budgeted a little extra for fuel costs and with the history of the last few years, I think there’s going to be some savings to be realized,” she said.

Hoag added that due to the sluggish economy, people also weren’t using the service as often for the more gas-guzzling trips into Kansas City, Kan., and Johnson County.

“With the Dollar Tree here and some other things, I think people are being able to find the things they need closer to home,” she said.

In 2010, there were some major repairs on the vans used in the busing service, so Hoag hopes it isn’t necessary to use the total maintenance budget for 2011. The drivers also have been asked to be more considerate of the routes they take and of when they decide to fill up in order to conserve gas.

“We’ll be continuing to look and solicit donations from businesses, so hopefully between all of those things, we’ll be OK as long as we are conservative and continue to not have any unexpected maintenance costs,” Hoag said.

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