MTA alters bus routes after major budget reductions
Macon-Bibb County leaders may seek to change its agreement on covering a reserves shortfall after the transit authority said it’s owed $476,201.
On Tuesday, a County Commission committee sent the Macon-Bibb County Transit Authority’s request to the next week’s commission agenda. The decision came after several county leaders discussed changing the requirement that the transit system must maintain at least 45 days worth of operating expenses in its reserve fund.
Macon-Bibb County would use money from its general fund to cover the $476,201. The reserve policy is a part of a bi-party agreement between Macon-Bibb and the MTA.
“We’re the ones that require them to have a 45 days reserve,” Mayor Robert Reichert said. “We’ve just never changed that. This is the amount necessary pursuant to the agreement. I’m certainly not opposed to a resolution to change it to a 30 day reserve,” down the line.
Either party can terminate the agreement with 60 days notice and new terms could be worked out, County Attorney Judd Drake said.
Last summer, the county gave the Transit Authority $255,000 owed for previous years’ reserves deficit. That money went toward covering operating expenses since commissioners initially passed a budget that cut $10 million to outside agencies, including funding for the bus system, according to the Transit Authority.
The transit system’s funding would be restored in the county’s budget, but the system would receive $300,000 less than requested.
The decreased budget led to some of the bus routes being altered. The transit system will seek to make up some of the lost funding in its next budget, said Lee Brown, chief financial officer for the Transit Authority.
Another factor in the budget reduction is that the Authority also missed out on part of a matching federal transportation grant.
“We lose $300,000 of our budget from the city then the state automatically reduces that $300,000 from the federal funds,” he said.
The transit system has essentially had the same operating expenses in 2017 and 2018.
In 2018, the transit system’s expenses were within $5,800 of its $6.8 million budget, said Georgia Slagle, an accountant with Howard, Moore & McDuffie, the transit system’s accounting firm.