Transit authority pays $18K to make up for lost profits
The contractor who operates the regional bus system has been losing money, prompting the transit authority to address the contract's profitability.
The Yuma County Intergovernmental Public Transportation Authority (YCIPTA) agreed to cover half of First Transit's deficit with a $18,000 payment. First Transit will assume the other 50 percent deficit internally.
With this payment, the issue is considered “closed,” said John Andoh, transit director.
He explained that the deficit was due to the contractor not invoicing for operation of some buses and attributed the oversight to a prior manager.
However, Andoh noted, based on continuing concern regarding the contractor's profitability, he believes the current contract “may not be profitable.” Therefore, YCIPTA intends to issue a request for proposals in January 2014 for transit services instead of using the option years in the contract with First Transit.
In addition, YCIPTA has advised First Transit that “there is an expectation that there should be no more fiscal issues regarding this agreement” for the remainder of the three-year contract ending June 30, 2014.
In other business, Andoh asked the board to adopt an amended fiscal year 2012-2013 operating and capital budget to address recent changes to revenue projections and expenses adjusted to match available revenues.
With an amended budget, the available operating revenues would increase by $1.124 million to $3.445 million. Expenses would increase by $19,100, bumping the overall figure to $2.54 million to compensate for an additional van pool program and the new Turquoise Route 10.
The capital budget would increase to $988,074 to compensate for $449,910 worth of expenses, including purchase of property, security cameras and other capital purchases.
The board questioned whether at this point it could legally “maneuver” the budget. Andoh said he understood that it was allowed for a “good cause.”
But board chairman Robert Pickels noted that what constitutes “good cause” could be subject to interpretation. He asked for a legal review, saying the board would then feel more comfortable amending the budget.
In addition, the board feted bus technician Salvador Insunza as Employee of the Month.
Rachel Harris, First Transit general manager, and Fernando Mena, maintenance manager, described Insunza as an “extremely hard” worker. They pointed out that over the past month and a half, Insunza has worked up to seven days a week to correct defects found as part of a maintenance audit.
In other action, the board re-elected Pickels as board chairman and Greg Wilkinson as vice chairman.
Mara Knaub can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6856. Find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/YSMaraKnaub or on Twitter at @YSMaraKnaub.