Liberty ends transit contract

LIBERTY — With so few residents using the county transportation service, trustees have decided to end their agreement with the Trumbull County Transit Board — a move they said will save the township more than $6,000 per year.

The contract calls for the township to pay the transit board $13,500 per year — an amount that was cut in half when the Trumbull County commissioners earlier this year kicked in additional senior citizen levy funds to help defray some of the cost.

Trustee Chairman Stan Nudell said paying for the service was ”not cost effective” as fewer than 10 residents have been using the service regularly this year.

”There are so few people using it and it was costing us more than $6,000 a year. There is other transportation available that does not cost much more,” he said.

Trustees, who voted Monday to end the contract effective at the end of the year, said they understand the need for the service. However, with the state auditor’s office placing the township in fiscal caution, officials also see the necessity to reduce costs wherever possible.

Trustee Jodi Stoyak said Patrick Ungaro, township administrator, researched the matter and found it isn’t practical to take $6,700 from the general fund for the number of people who use the service.

”We really didn’t feel the township could continue to afford to do this. It was always a struggle to pay,” she said.

The ordinance states ”it is in the best interest for Liberty Township to opt out of the program and become a non-participating community.”

The end of the contract will take effect at the end of the year.

Officials said residents who need transportation will easily be able to find other service at comparable costs.

Liberty has participated in the transit, previously known as Niles Trumbull Transit, since 2001.

The transit is funded by the senior levy of $350,000 annually and charges residents in those communities who participate $1.50 per trip for senior citizens and disabled individuals and $4 for the general public.

Non-participating community transit service is still available to all township residents with fares at $2 for seniors, $4 for the disabled and $8 for the general public.

In other action, trustees:

l Increased appropriations to the police fund by $200,000, general fund $100,000 and fire fund $75,000 because of increased revenue;

l Tabled until January for the new trustee board to act on a $400,000 general obligation tax anticipation note to provide financial funds to meet all the township’s current and future financial needs. The note is to be issued in anticipation of collection of current property tax revenues in and for the fiscal year. Nudell said the township will still be able to borrow from the bank next year.