At the beginning of the meeting, neither A Green Cab nor Alpha &
Omega was represented at the hearing.
There were, however, several
representatives on hand from the Community Action Partnership of
Central Illinois and the Logan Mason Public Transportation program.
When Mayor Keith Snyder asked if anyone would like to speak,
Jacob Sexton, executive director for Community Action, came forward.
Sexton told the council that he was there with a representation
of the LMPT drivers along with Angie Jenkins, the LMPT director, and
Pam Meagher, the project compliance and oversight management officer
for the program.
He opened by saying that what Community Action offers is not a
taxi service, so he knew his statement didn't really have any
bearing on that decision. However, what he did want to do was take
an opportunity to share with the council what the LMPT program
offers to Lincoln and Logan County.
Community Action has been in Logan County since the 1960s. Over
the past 40 years, the agency has offered a transportation program
to senior citizens, first through their Senior Transportation
program, which was funded by the Area Agency on Aging and local
grants. In 2012, they launched the Logan Mason Public Transportation
program, which is funded with grants also. The money for the program
comes to Community Action as a pass-through from the county.
Since the launch of LMPT, Sexton said the program has been
equipped to take Medicare and Medicaid payments for their services.
They are currently working through the process of being able to take
insurance payments also, specifically with Health Alliance.
The program's vehicles run Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m.
to between 4 and 5 p.m., and Sexton said they are constantly on the
Sexton said he really didn't believe that having Alpha & Omega
come to the city would have much of an effect on the LMPT. He noted
his drivers are from Lincoln, they are people who much of the time
personally know the clients they are transporting, and that in many
ways they become like family to each other.
He also commented that LMPT is a not-for-profit program, so they
are not striving to make money from the clients.
From time to time while Sexton was speaking, the aldermen asked
questions. Melody Anderson wanted to know more about the insurance
payments. Sexton said there were still many details to work out and
he couldn't say for sure what the Health Alliance program would
For both Medicare and Medicaid, if the client is eligible for the
coverage, the payments are made to LMPT on their behalf.
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Marty Neitzel wondered if there was a gap in service that
Alpha & Omega could fill. Because the company specializes in
non-emergency medical transport to doctors' appointments and
such, there shouldn't be a lot of gap.
Anderson said that while she is concerned about the effect Alpha
& Omega might have on the LMPT program, that issue is not one the
council can address. She said she was of the understanding that
Alpha & Omega is coming to Lincoln for their medical transport
program regardless of whether they are allowed to operate a taxi
The hearing concluded with Sexton commenting that he did not
believe LMPT clients would "jump ship" to go to Alpha & Omega.
When the item came up for a vote later in the regular voting
session, Tom O'Donohue made the motion to approve, with Jeff
Hoinacki offering the second.
During discussion, Anderson commented that she was a little
surprised that Alpha & Omega was not in attendance at the hearing.
She asked Susan Gehlbach, the city clerk, if they knew there was to
be a hearing, and Gehlbach confirmed that they did.
Jonie Tibbs wondered if the item should be tabled because they
were not present, but O'Donohue said it really wasn't necessary for
the firm to be there, so he didn't want to table the vote.
Sue McLaughlin, city administrator, said she had talked to city
officials in Decatur about the firm and had been told the city was
pleased with what the firm offered their residents.
Michelle Bauer said she was in favor of a taxi service designed
to transport wheelchairs. She said she didn't know of any service in
town that was able to do that. She noted that it could be the
important gap that Alpha & Omega could fill for Lincoln residents.
The evening had begun with seven aldermen in place. Prior to the
actual voting session, Scott Cooper was sworn in as the new Ward 1
alderman, replacing Bruce Carmitchel, and thus returning the roll
call to eight members.
The motion to grant Alpha & Omega a taxi license passed
unanimously. However, when Anderson was called on to vote, she
hesitated for quite some time before giving her affirmative. As a
general rule, such a hesitation indicates reluctance from an
alderman to go along with the vote and implies that while they don't
necessarily agree with the vote, they also don't have a viable
reason to oppose it.
Alpha & Omega will be notified of the decision, but no dates were
announced as to when they will start offering taxi service in
[By NILA SMITH]