Leave Feedback

2014 goal: Don’t use city funding

Andy Ouriel • Apr 21, 2014 at 3:48 PM

Sandusky officials appreciate the rapid evolution of local public transportation and its offerings.

But they’re disturbed by Sandusky Transit’s recent reliance on local funding to keep the wheels rolling.

Despite receiving state and federal funds in addition to local fare money, transit services still needed about a $318,000 bailout from Sandusky’s everyday operating budget to negate a shortfall in 2013.

SPARC offers big buses, or small

City commissioners provided the bailout, a necessary transaction, amid their own fiscal crisis, highlighted by a $1.1 million shortfall in the $16.3 million everyday operating budget in 2014.

To balance their budget, commissioners in February scaled back on many public services, including the elimination of three fulltime firefighter positions.

Had transit services broken even, city officials could’ve preserved some programs, services and staffing levels Fast forward to today, and commissioners begrudgingly budgeted about $60,000 in transit services just in case they zip into the red once again in 2014. But it won’t be needed, Sandusky Transit administrator Thomas Schwan said.

Shelters help comfort waiting riders

“We know the budget crunch the city is in, and we are going to (try) and never access any money from the general fund” Schwan said. “That is my goal” Any reductions to Sandusky Transit will surely impact area riders. Here’s a look at some recent topics Schwan discussed with commissioners about how transit operations plan to create and conserve funding in the future: 

Officials brainstormed several ways to juice up revenue for Sandusky Transit operations. Among them:

Advertising on buses

People representing several area companies recently submitted bids to slap or wrap a particular operation’s name and services on transit buses and other related property. City officials plan to review the bids before announcing the winners. It’s likely the advertisements could pop up on buses sometime this year.

Billing Medicaid directly

Sandusky Transit workers want to directly bill Medicaid to receive a larger payout. Medicaid subsidizes rides for certain classifications of people boarding transit buses, such as those receiving services from the Erie County Board of Developmental Disabilities or Erie County Job and Family Services. Laws today forbid transit administrators from directly billing Medicaid. But officials believe they can soon start directly billing Medicaid, thus eliminating a ‘middleman’ and reap a larger return. In the most extreme case, transit officials can receive $18 more per ride if they can directly bill Medicaid, thus helping out their financial standing. Rider fares won’t increase for the foreseeable future.

Recommended for You