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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Council questioned over transportation

  • The leader of Leavenworth County's Council on Aging faced questions from county commissioners Monday over the number and purpose of her department's vehicles.
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  • The leader of Leavenworth County's Council on Aging faced questions from county commissioners Monday over the number and purpose of her department's vehicles.
    Responding to questions bubbling over the last week among commissioners about the fleet, Linda Lobb presented a list of the department's current vehicles, divided into three categories ― the transportation, the in-home support and the nutrition departments. There were a total of 33 vehicles in the fleet, ranging from sedans to 26-passenger buses.
    “I can see why you're looking at this and saying 'oh my gosh,'” she said. “But I don't feel that we have ever asked for more than we need.”
    That said, in her 2014 budget, Lobb was asking for three replacement vehicles in an “enhancement”over her base ― a 12-passenger bus with two wheelchair spaces, a replacement of a 10-passenger vehicle from 2001, at a cost of $55,000; a minivan with a wheelchair ramp, which would replace a 1999 Dodge Caravan at a cost of $36,000; and the replacement of another vehicle that had yet to be drawn from the council's fleet. The first two vehicles had accumulated depreciation to defer part of the costs, and Lobb said that last vehicle would replace one of seven that the council purchased in an 80/20 cost split with the Kansas Department of Transportation for both purchase and operations costs.
    She admitted it seems like a lot of vehicles. But Lobb also said the fleet is utilized.
    “We're just seeing more and more people,” she said.
    There are other reasons for the length of the council's vehicle list. For one, the arrangement with KDOT for funding has a tradeoff ― by accepting that cost-share, Lobb said the council must provide transportation to any person of any age within Leavenworth County.
    “I will say the KDOT vehicles stay busy,” she said of the general ridership.
    Because of the requirements, those buses are of limited use for the council, whose primary transportation initiative, “Senior Express,” is just for seniors age 60 and over for transport to the grocery store or to medical appointments.
    Furthermore, Lobb said not all of the vehicles are in use at all times, switched out for maintenance when needed.
    “It has been very nice,” she said. “It's probably not very nice for you all that I come and ask for these, under Senior Express. But it's very nice to have reliable vehicles.”
    Commissioner Dennis Bixby said the commission was not trying to attack her.
    “You have a lot of vehicles out there and we're trying to figure out how many you need,what the purposes are, that they're properly maintained and that they're a good investment for the county,” he said.
    Page 2 of 2 - Bixby requested an inspection of each of the vehicles in the fleet this weekend. Commissioners seemed to tentatively agree to make the enhancement request part of the enhancement package moving on to the next round of consideration, though no official action was taken.

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