Transit system future brightens, suddenly New sources of income found

February 02, 1993|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Staff Writer

It was almost as if someone waved a "magic wand" over Carroll Transit System, said board president Peggie Roland at a special meeting last night.

Since Wednesday, the agency's projected deficit of $70,000 turned into an expectation to end the fiscal year June 30 with a surplus of at least $10,000.

The board's meeting last night was scheduled the week before to decide whether the transportation agency should even stay in business.

With the new expectation of being in the black, the board voted to keep Carroll Transit going through June 30 and to review the situation again then.

The "magic wand" was a combination of new sources of income, a contract with the county -- signed as late as yesterday afternoon -- and a commitment from the commissioners for help with any unexpected problems, such as a breakdown of a van, said Ms. Roland and Executive Director Linda Boyer.

But Ms. Boyer said Carroll Transit will need other major changes in the long term, including increases in fares and in payments from the county and state.

One of the biggest changes came this week when the county and state health departments provided more money for Carroll Transit to take medical assistance clients to doctor appointments. The Carroll County Health Department is providing an additional $65,188, and the state is providing more per ride for transporting some clients in wheelchairs.

Ms. Boyer said that because many of those clients will be riding vans that would have been running anyway, it will mean more income with little more expense.

Also, the county came through with more support and a safety net.

The county and Carroll Transit have had an implied contract for the private, nonprofit agency to provide reduced-price tickets for senior centers, handicapped people and low-income people.

Yesterday afternoon, Carroll Transit officials signed their names to the contract for $289,000 to provide that transportation. Out of that money, the county will deduct for county mechanics to maintain the fleet at $25 an hour, and for the gasoline the vans draw from county tanks, Ms. Boyer said.

The maintenance agreement will save Carroll Transit about $15,000 annually, she said.

In addition, county and agency officials are exploring how to allow Carroll Transit to purchase gas after-hours for some vans at a cheaper rate.

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