By Jon A. Brake
The Riley County Commission is taking the Riley County ATA Bus for a ride, lets hope it is not a long one.
ATA Bus is a non-profit organization that provides transportation for senior citizens in Riley County. Seniors can call and make an appointment for ATA Bus to take them to the doctor, to town or any place and they return to take them home again. They receive high marks from merchants and citizens.
Last fall the City of Manhattan and the Riley County Commission both agreed to fund a twenty percent match for two new vans.
The Kansas Department of Transportation approved the purchase of two vans for ATA Bus and agreed to pay eighty percent of the cost.
The City has made their payment, Riley County has not.
In a December 9, 2001 letter to Dick Bailey, ATA Bus Director Corey Swisher Budget & Finance Officer for the County said: "The Riley County Board of Commissioners have determined to continue their support of the Riley County ATA Program and have agreed to approve additional funding for this program for FY2002. In an effort to ensure the continuation of services provided by Riley County ATA, the commission has agreed to meet the twenty percent match required to purchase a new vehicle in FY2002. This amount, as reported to the commission, is understood to be $8,000. The commission asks that you request these funds when they become required."
The Commissioners must have forgot because when ATA Bus applied for the money it was not available. The first bus was delivered last week and the second will be here next week.
On receiving word that the Commission had rejected the $8,000 request the Riley County Council on Aging held an emergency meeting Monday.
Council on Aging Chairman Robert Pudden sent a letter to the Commission the same day.
Pudden told the Commissioners: "The Riley County Council on Aging strongly reaffirms its support for your agreement to fund the 20% match for the new vehicle for Riley County Aging Transportation Agency, in the amount of $8,000 as confirmed by the Department of Admin Services letter dated 9 December 2001. The vehicle is due to arrive on 4 June, and a check for the matching funds must be mailed to the vendor, Kansas Truck Equipment, Inc. by 6 June."
Pudden then told the Commissioners: "The Riley County Council on Aging strongly urges the Riley County Commissioners to support the request by the Riley County Aging Transportation Agency for additional funding to meet the 20% match for the 2003 vehicle to be provided early by KDOT, in June-July 2002."
Last Thursday the ATA Bus Director went before the Commission requesting the promised money. He was told by Commissioner Bob Newsome to go through channels. Commissioners Russ Frey and Alvin Johnson did not come to the aid of the Director.
The Check is in the mail unless it is coming from the county.