Decision likely to be taken on the funding request in May | News
MADISON — The Madison County Board of Commissioners will need an additional month before determining whether to provide $750,000 to help North Fork Area Transit purchase a building for offices and bus storage, as well as a partially fund initial operations for additional routes.
Commissioners initially learned of the request last month, but delayed a decision until this month to try to determine if they could honor the request using American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.
Troy Uhlir, chairman of the county board, said he would be reluctant to support providing the funds if it meant the county would have to increase the levy to do so. Additionally, Uhlir said he wanted to ensure that if the county was audited, it would not be required to return the funds because it had used ARPA funds.
Jeff Stewart, general manager of mobility for North Fork Area Transit, discussed local subsidy requirements for rural areas under the 5311 program.
With nearly $900,000 worth of equipment, North Fork Transit needs a building to store everything and do internal bus maintenance, Stewart said.
Stewart said any funds allocated by the federal government through the grant formulas can be used under the 5310 and 5311 programs, which are non-urbanized transportation for people with disabilities and seniors.
Based on advice received from the Federal Transit Administration, Stewart said ARPA funds could be used as local matching. Stewart also provided written materials to commissioners, explaining funding requirements and the local twinning program.
Previously, it was reported that the North Fork Area Transit had about $3.2 million in federal funds for the building. Part of the deal is that there is a 20% local match.
Commissioner Ron Schmidt asked how much funding would be needed for the 20% match.
Stewart said it would be around $830,000 locally. Transit has funds available for operating expenses, which it will contribute.
Stewart said county funds would have $620,000 for the new facility and $130,000 for running the new service, including service from Norfolk to Madison.
There’s a huge need, with several businesses and industries in Madison County indicating their employees want it because they have low incomes, Stewart said.
“This is really going to open up a lot of avenues for all citizens of Madison County,” he said. “You just have to get to the courthouse and do something as simple as pay the taxes or have to come in for another case, we’ll have the transportation going.”
Stewart said his transit is working on a five-year plan and long-term plans. Once a certain population threshold is reached, the status changes from a private non-profit organization to a regional transport agreement. One of the benefits is that funds set aside by the Nebraska Legislature would then become eligible for the local game instead of having to go out and fundraise.
There have been preliminary conversations about expanding transportation more regionally, including with the City of Wayne. With Wayne State College, there are additional opportunities, Stewart said.
Other conversations included an itinerary to Fremont, with long-term plans including transportation to Omaha and then possibly Lincoln, Stewart said.
“It’s going to provide a resource for the underserved community where you can hop on a bus in Madison County, pay $5 and take it all the way to Omaha,” he said. “That’s the long-term vision. This is the first step. »
Uhlir said he saw the need to improve transportation.
Uhlir said he believed the county could do this with ARPA funds and sought clarification Tuesday from Candace Meredith of the Nebraska County Officials Association over a loudspeaker.
Meredith said the US Treasury now has a revenue loss category of up to $10 million, with many counties in Nebraska impacted by COVID-19.
Meredith said it looks like the county would be able to do this, but she would ask the county to go to the Federal Transit Administration to make sure they confirm it.
“I would be more comfortable if you got confirmation from the FTA before proceeding,” Meredith said.
Commissioner Eric Stinson asked how long the response might take from the FTA.
Meredith said “it shouldn’t take long.” She will email County Clerk Anne Pruss with any response she receives.
The county council then said it would try to make a decision on the request at its meeting on Tuesday May 10.
The Madison County Board of Commissioners met on Tuesday.
Members present: President Troy Uhlir, Ron Schmidt and Eric Stinson.
Others Present: Anne Pruss, County Clerk; Dick Johnson, superintendent of roads; Todd Volk, Sheriff; Joe Smith, county attorney; Heather McWhorter, Zoning Administrator, approximately 25 members of the public and three reporters.
Duration of the meeting: Three hours and 25 minutes, including less than 30 minutes when the county council met as an equalization council.
— Recited the oath of allegiance and observed a moment of silence. Noted that the law on public meetings is posted and followed.
— Met as an equalization commission and approved a list of tax exemptions and corrections.
— Approved an agreement with Farris Engineering in the amount of $41,500 for engineering services for the design of the courthouse HVAC system.
– Approved an interlocal agreement with the City of Norfolk for the city to fulfill all county requirements of the Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) Trail Agreement for the Benjamin Avenue Trail Project.
– XL2206 Approved Trail Agreement with Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) for Benjamin Avenue Trail.
— Acknowledged receipt of the audited financial statements for the financial year ending June 30, 2021.
— Rejected all submissions for culvert pipes, grader blades, protective coat and road gravel for fiscal year 2022-23. The offers were only for 30 days due to changing prices. Instead, the county will buy them in the open marked when needed.
— Awarding of a contract to supply asphalt materials to Jebro Inc. of Sioux City, Iowa, for fiscal year 2022-23.
— Cancellation of a check payable to Fitzgerald, Vetter, Temple, Bartell & Henderson.
– Holding a public hearing and renewing a conditional use license from Marx Repair for agricultural equipment and sales services on the property at 54659 838th Road, Battle Creek. The property is just over a mile south of Battle Creek. The initial permit was issued in 2012 and was valid for 10 years. The new license will contain the same conditions and will be recommended for automatic renewal in 10 years as long as there are no verifiable complaints. Nobody spoke against it.
— Discussed election integrity. No action has been taken.
— Examination of written reports and processing of complaints.