The Oneida County Department on Aging has agreed short-term to help the Oneida County Transit Commission help keep the books balanced.
The Commision Thursday approved the contract. The bus service known as Northwoods Transit Connections has had some fiscal shortfalls in it's first year, many caused by lack of payment by federal and state governments and also some unexpected costs associated with growth.
Commission Chair Erv Teichmiller said the problem is akin to a person good in one area of a business, but not in another....
"....the person who started the business was exceptionally good at selling, but wasn't particularly good at bookkeeping. It wasn't until the person realized they had gifts that they had to spend their time at and other gifts they shouldn't try to spend their time at and needed to get that assistance. We decided that is where we needed to be...."
The Department on Aging will provide up to 7.5 hours of help per week with the Commission books in the first quarter to help smooth out revenues and expenses. The Commission has been working with the parent counties, Oneida and Vilas, to see if they could help out during the times when the federal and state money hasn't come in.
Ridership has been increasing, says Transit Manager Jim Altenburg. They charge one or two dollars one way per trip. He says last summer they had six buses running in some areas to keep up with demand, but they've cut back now to keep within the restrained budget.
Altenburg outlines the December numbers...
"we're not final yet, but we're very close. My numbers through the month of December were 3,072..."
That projects out to about 52,000 rides during the year.