Board creates bus authority; appoints members
An ordinance was adopted by the Schuylkill County commissioners creating a authority to run the county bus line known as Schuylkill Transportation System (STS) and appointed nine people at staggered terms to serve on the board in action taken at Wednesday's public meeting held at the courthouse in Pottsville.
Appointed as the first members on the board of authority were, Al Bindie,. Shenandoah, and Edward Barket, Pottsville, each for five years; Brian Canfield, Pottsville, and Todd Selgrade, Girardville, each for four years; James Thomas and H.J. Fenstermacher, both of Pottsvillle, each for three years; Jason Gherghel, Orwigsburg, and Nicholas Troutman, Gordon, each for two years; and Jack Wabby, Pottsville, for one year.
Commissioner chairperson Mantura Gallagher commented the county intends to delegate to the authority all responsibility and authority to operate the public transportation system in the county and they will be paid $100 per scheduled monthly meeting for the first two years of the existance of the authority and renewal and level of compensation to be reviewed by the commissioners.
Prior to the commissioners' meeting a public hearing was held in the commissioners board room to receive imput on the proposed authority. There were only a few private citizens present and no one raised objections.
The commissioners explained their proposed actions at the public meeting with Gallagher reading a prepared statement stating as follows:
"Pursuant to re-examination of our internal operations, the Board of Commissioners has initiated a multi-faceted strategy to implement cost savings where feasible and the establishment of a Municipal Authority to manage and operate the STS falls within this strategy.
"The ReDCo Group has been managing the operations of STS through a management services agreeement and has provided quality management services throughout their engagement with the county, however, the Board of Commissioners is interested in employing a new costs saving strategy moving forward.
"This shift of operational responsibility will have no adverse effect on the present operations of STS and will in fact through new management arrangement, enhance efficiencies, provide for greater oversight and provide better services to the public over the long term."
Mark Scarbinsky, county fiscal manager, explained the funds for operation come from grants from the federal, state and county governments with the county making the smallest contribution, which had been around $2 milllion. The federal and state government grants have been around $4 million.
Scarbinsky said there will be no additional costs to the county because the money paid to ReDCo to manage the bus line will now go to the authority for operating expenses. Commissioner Francis McAndrew noted that the county was the only county in the state to have a bus line operated by a private non-profit organizatiion.