Wednesday, July 17, 2013
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Logan County to continue rural public transportation service

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[July 17, 2013]  During its board of whole meeting last week on Thursday evening, the Logan County Board passed straw votes on multiple resolutions applying to Logan Mason Public Transportation, a program administered by Community Action.

  • The acquisition of new vehicles provided by the state for the program. This resolution is completely new to the county board.

  • The annual grant agreement to receive federal and state grants to fund the program.

  • The resolution that provides the board with the authority to act on the previously mentioned agreements.

On an added note, David Hepler, who chairs the county board's Executive and Economic Development Committee, brought forward the committee's recommendation to continue receiving grants for the transportation program on behalf of both Logan and Mason counties.

Andy Anderson said that from a personal standpoint, he wishes to thank the county board for their support. "This is, to me, one of the avenues to grow Lincoln and Logan County, through stuff like this," said Anderson.

The decision to remain as the grantee comes after several months of discussion on the topic. The reason for the discussions comes from a stipulation that Logan County will have to find an employee who will spend a majority of their time monitoring the process of expenditures. This position is referred to as the PCOM officer, for project compliance and oversight management.

In addition, there are matters still being decided by state officials, and not all of the details concerning the position have been released.

Pamela Meagher, who has been attending seminars and classes on this position, said she would be willing to take on duties of the PCOM. However, she also serves the county board as board secretary and insurance administrator. Meagher suggested that the county move some of her duties for those positions to other offices within the county, since being the PCOM will take up a lot of time in the first year. At previous meetings, the committee discussed the idea of creating an office manager position to take on some of those extra duties.

Another topic discussed by the committee prior to the meeting was the receiving of grants in the future. Should this prove to be too difficult a venture to continue, the county looked to a similar organization called Showbus that runs a public transportation program covering DeWitt, Ford, Iroquois, Kankakee, Livingston, Macon, and McLean counties.

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In speaking with the committee, Laura Dick, the director of Showbus, said that they have also been experiencing problems in fulfilling the PCOM requirement and that the legislation was a surprise for everyone involved.

Dick also mentioned that in reading an updated contract for the position, she learned that two grantees with "continuous borders" can share a PCOM. That is not in the original language of the legislation.

Dick said that should Logan County seek to join them in the future, they would ensure that Logan County is completely satisfied -- and that the transportation needs of the elderly, the disabled or those who have low income would be met -- before anything would be made official. She said she is happy to see that Logan County has acquired a rural public transportation system.

Jan Schumacher said that from her understanding, the county was choosing to stay with Community Action, and she was not sure why Showbus was being asked to offer information.

Chuck Ruben said any decision to join Showbus would be at least a year or two away, if at all. Furthermore, Ruben said that Logan County is just looking at other organizations to see what else is known about the PCOM position that has to be created.

Hepler said that from his perspective, there needs to be more communication between the county board and Community Action. Angie Jenkins, an employee of Community Action, told board members she would be glad to update them at any time, and that the board members are welcome to observe their operations in action.

Meagher added: "I don't think I ever saw an interest in this board, in this program, until the state said we have to have a PCOM. My impression was that the board was satisfied with them running the program, and now I think some members have a concern with how the program is being run, even though nothing has changed."

The whole board is expecting to vote on the issue this month.


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