Transit rates discussed

No rate increase recommended

By Sheryl Roadcap - [email protected]

SIDNEY — Shelby County Transit rates were discussed during Sidney City Council’s Monday evening meeting.

Ron Schalow, manager of Shelby County Transit, provided council with the Transit Advisory Committee’s recommendation after it’s May 5 meeting on the transit’s 2022-23 rates.

The Shelby County Transit provides transportation for various Shelby County care facilities and human service agencies, on a contracted basis. These agencies have a funding source for their client’s transportation needs, Schalow said.

Rural transit systems are encouraged by the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) to set contract rates to recover the full cost of the service provided, he said. This method reserves grant funds for the support of transit service provided to the general public, including the elderly and disabled.

Schalow said the committee recommends no increase for the proposed contract rates for July 1 through June 30, 2023.

The current rates for contract rides are $65 per hour, $24.75 per trip and $5.30 per mile. The per-hour and per-trip rates are used for contract services within the city, and the per-mile rate is used for contract rates outside of Sidney.

Non-contract service is provided to the general public, including the elderly and disabled. No increase of rates for non-contract fares, which is service for the general public, was recommended.

Council member Mike Barhorst asked if the increasing cost of gas would substantially increase fares in the coming year and if incremental increases should be considered for the present year. Schalow said with current ridership, he did not anticipate substantial increases in fees for next year.

In other business, City Council also adopted five resolutions, and they are:

• To authorize the submittal of an application with the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) office of aviation for Ohio Airport grant funds to rehabilitate aprons B, D and F at the Sidney City Airport. This project involves the milling and resurfacing of the referenced aprons.

The grant application requests $400,000, which represents 95% of eligible project costs for construction, engineering and inspections. The total estimated cost of this project is $421,053. The city’s local share of the project is $21,053 or 5%.

• To authorize the city manager to advertise for bids for three projects, including, the extension of Folkerth Avenue, Sidney Municipal Court HVAC renovation and Pickleball Courts.

• To reappoint Michael Goubeaux to the Board of Building Code Appeals for a new term to expire May 19, 2027. Goubeaux was first appointed to the board in 2017.

• To authorize the filing of an application with the ODOT for grants through the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Transit Administration, and the state of Ohio, as authorized under federal transit laws and state of Ohio laws; and the execution of a contract with ODOT upon grant project approval.

Federal and state operating grant funds in the amount of $543,514, and federal and state capital funds for maintenance and capital replacement in the amount of $125,351 is being requested.

Schalow told council members 2023 operating expenses will be reimbursed at 50% from federal grant funds in addition to a fixed amount of state operating grant funds from the General Revenue Fund. The 2023 capital projects and capitalized maintenance expenses will be reimbursed at 80% from federal grant funds in addition to a fixed amount of state capitalized maintenance funds from the general revenue fund.

• To authorize the city manager to enter into a contract with the ODOT for the elderly and disabled fare assistance program.

Schalow said the Elderly and Disabled Fare Assistance Program reimburses the city of Sidney for half of the $2.50 general public rate for non-contract trips provided to passengers over the age of 65 and those with a disability who have certifications on file in our office. In 2022, ODOT awarded Shelby Public Transit $51,444 to offset the farebox loss incurred during calendar year 2021 as a result of offering a reduced fare to elderly and disabled passengers.

During the comments portion at the end of meeting, Police Chief Will Balling informed council the Teen Law Enforcement Academy would be taking place soon; he encouraged teenagers in the community to consider attending.

City Manager Andrew Bowsher shared that with the recent AES electric rate increase announcement, city staff has received several calls from residents looking to join the city’s fixed-rate electric aggregate. He urged residents to visit the city’s website for enrollment details.

No rate increase recommended

By Sheryl Roadcap

[email protected]