GTA finances appear to be stabilizing

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MOSES LAKE — The finances at Grant Transit Authority (GTA) appear to be stable, according to a report from interim GTA General Manager Terry Weed during a regular board of directors meeting on Thursday, June 20.

Weed said there was nothing significant to report. With the cuts to service made April 1, expenses have been reduced and income has remained on track.

“It looks stable at this point,” Weed said. “We have a good picture.”

This does not include grant money that the transit company has received, which will go toward the purchase of new buses. Management hopes to present a revised budget to the board in the next month or two to reflect the service changes and grant money.

In other business, GTA will be rearranging their route schedules, starting July 1. All service to Ellensburg will cease and the late-night run to Warden will be discontinued. In exchange, service in Moses Lake will be extended later in the evening and some Saturday service will be reinstated.

GTA will be receiving $803,201 for their Special Transportation Needs.

“We plan to use essentially half of it to buy vehicles,” said Weed. “The rest will go to support service for para-transit.”

Stephanie Guettinger said that for the purposes of the grant, the vehicles purchased will be for the dial-a-ride routes only.

The GTA board approved repairs to bus 1802. The repairs are being made by Woodard Auto and Truck. Weed asked the board to approve a resolution that increases the amount that staff can spend without board approval from $3,000 to $25,000, with the approval of the general manager. He said that current practice was not consistent with state Department of Transportation policy and not how other transit systems operate.

The resolution gives designated department heads the ability to purchase up to $3,000 without approval. The general manager can approve purchases up to $25,000 without board approval. All purchases are within budgetary restraints. Board member Don Myers asked why the amount the general manager could approve was so high. Weed told him that the number was half of where it normally would be set.

“In recognition of the sensitivity and the situation here in the past couple of years, that’s why I pushed it down to $25,000,” said Weed. “It gives the agency more flexibility to be time conscious in getting some of these things done.”

Weed commented that when Greg Lange, the facility and maintenance manager, takes a bus in for repairs he thinks will be under $3,000, but the cost turns out to be more, it doesn’t reflect well on GTA if the bus has to sit for three weeks while waiting for the work to be approved by the board. The board approved the resolution.

The board also approved another resolution that dealt with a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the bus driver’s union, Amalgamated Transit Union, and GTA. The MOU put procedures in place to deal with unfilled shifts.

The board also approved a one-year extension of the contract with People for People for para-transit services with a four percent increase in price. Weed said that while there had been discussion to bring para-transit services in house, staff has decided not to do so at this time.

Weed informed the board that staff will soon be bringing a request to fix the leaking roof in the bus garage. According to maintenance personnel that worked for GTA when the building was built, the building has been leaking since a few weeks after the building was built. While GTA’s insurance doesn’t cover poor workmanship, they are sending someone out to help GTA determine the problem.

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