Public Works Head Outlines Upcoming Transit Expenses

OCEAN CITY – A public hearing held as part of the town’s annual transportation plan and paratransit application was held last week, outlining the grant application and the proposed FY 09 budget.

Public Works Director Hal Adkins conducted the public hearing at the regular session of the Mayor and Council. The annual public hearing is a requirement of the Federal Transit Administration as well as the Maryland Transit Administration and must be held prior to the submission of the grant application.

The public hearing was advertised 30 days in advance as required. The document outlining the grant application and funding requests has also been available at Adkins’ office in the Public Works building on 65th Street since Nov. 17, but, according to Adkins, no one has requested to review the document.

This year, the grant application is requesting funding for fixed-route operating costs, ADA operating costs, trolley route operating costs and several capitol projects.

The proposed operating budget or total expenses for FY 09 is currently estimated at $6,612,583, but Adkins pointed out that the budget is a proposed budget and had not yet been submitted to the city manager or the City Council for a detailed review.

The operating budget is supported by a variety of revenues. The money comes from fares, ADA grants, New Start grants (received for the trolley services which are in their second year of operation), and state and federal operating revenues total $4,536,516, resulting in a General Fund Contribution of just over $2 million.

Adkins outlined the capital items that the town is seeking funding for. The capital items are land acquisition and construction, 12-40-foot transit buses, 1-40-foot expansion bus, one ADA van, spare bus parts, eight passenger shelters, passenger shelter parts, coin sorter/counter, the power-wash and stain of the timber bridge and fence at the Park and Ride, re-skinning the operations building, and applying vehicle numbers to the roof of each vehicle.  The capital items list results in a capital grant request of $12,710,940 that will be supported through revenues, federal, state, and local funding.

After presenting the highlights of the annual grant application, the public was given an opportunity to speak to the matter, but only one resident, Ellie Diegleman, came forward to ask a question regarding language in the resolution.

A resolution authorizing the filing of an application with the Mass Transit Administration of the Maryland Department of Transportation for a Section 5307, 5311 and/or 5307 grant under the Federal Transit Act was presented to the Mayor and Council after the public hearing and was passed after receiving unanimous support from the council.