Commission approves application for grant for vans

Updated: Dec 8, 2021

MOUND CITY – Linn County Public Works Office Manager Joyce Hall met with the Linn County Commissioners on Monday, Nov.15, to have grant forms signed and to clarify information on the county vans.

Hall asked that the commissioners sign a grant form so that the county could apply for a minivan with a lift from the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT). She explained to the commissioners that the county had two old vans from this program, a 2011 with 150,000 miles, and a 2017 with 130,000 miles.

The county’s third van is shared with the sheriff’s office and is used for transporting prisoners. KDOT vans cannot be used for transporting prisoners.

Hall explained to the commissioners the reason she was asking for this grant now. She said that the county had already applied and been accepted for KDOT’s General Public Transportation replacement of the 2011 van.

However, she said that it probably would not be delivered until 2023 or 2024. This was for a 14-passenger van. She said that she had heard that a shortage of chassis for that type of van was a possibility.

The grant for the minivan will replace the 2017 van. Hall said that often only one passenger is on the trip, and this would save on fuel. She said that KDOT encourages recipients to apply for replacement vans when they reach 100,000 miles.

Hall explained that there were three parts to the grant. A budget part, which the federal government currently is reimbursing at 100 percent, is normally funded 50 percent by the federal government, 30 percent by the state and 20 percent by the county.

However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, at least through January 2022, the federal is covering 100 percent of the cost, Hall said.

The other part of the grant is the administrative costs, and the Federal Transit Administrations (FTA) reimburses 80 percent of the county’s costs. That would be for the county’s public works administrative fees. The capital outlay part is what the county uses to purchase the minivan, and the federal reimbursement is 80 percent.

Hall explained to the commissioners that the county received a $7,000 to $8,000 check monthly from KDOT that reimburses the county 100 percent for maintenance, costs, fuel, drivers’ wages, insurance and phone bills.

The reimbursement each month depends on the figures she provides telling the state how much the expenses were for the travel and the amount of fares that are collected. The check goes back into the county’s elderly budget.

The commissioners approved a motion for submitting the paperwork and the grant.

Hall introduced Kim Grigsby who was added on last April as a part-time driver so that two vans could operate at the same time. Her hours have averaged about 25 hours per week.

Commission Chair Rick James expressed concerns that elderly that depended on the van might not be able to get the services. He asked what kind of policies the county had to make sure people were able to get to their doctor appointments.

James said that he wanted make sure that the residents were able to stay in their own homes if they wanted to. He said he just wanted to make sure the residents feel good about that we are there and we are dependable because they do not have a choice.

Hall said that they did not turn down anybody as long as they met the county’s guidelines. The only time that a person is not allowed to ride on the van is if they are abusive in any way.

She said that they had recently had to send a certified letter to a person telling them they could not ride in the van anymore because of their behavior.

She said they also did not take people to work.

The county website states the designated appointment locations are doctor appointments, dialysis treatments, grocery shopping, trips to the bank, pharmacies, post office, and Veterans Administration hospital.

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