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Lee County Considers Countywide Transit

Feb 13, 2013

Lee County residents could soon be able to take advantage of a countywide public transit system.

The Lee County Board of Supervisors

CPC (Central Point of Coordination) Administrator Ryanne Wood has asked the Board of Supervisors to add about $29,000 to next year’s budget to pay for the program.

She says the service would be offered through SEIBUS, which is a subsidiary of the Southeast Iowa Regional Planning Commission.

Wood says she brought up the idea of a countywide system to address an upcoming deficiency in her own department.

Residents with mental health and other developmental disabilities (MHDD) currently have access to public transportation to get to medical appointments or locations such as Hope Haven or the Lee County Drop-In Center.

Wood says the plan to redesign Iowa’s mental health care system does not consider transportation to be a core service, so the county would be responsible for providing rides to MHDD clients without private insurance or Medicaid.

That is a problem because Lee County is already set to lose about $500,000, in next year’s budget, because of a change in the funding formula for MHDD services.

Wood says instead of setting aside money only for certain MHDD clients, a countywide system would cover them and provide opportunities for anyone in Lee County.

The supervisors seem to support the idea and appear willing to put money into next year’s budget.

Wood says the proposal calls for a per-ride fee, on top of the $29,000.  She says details such as the number of available buses and the hours of operation will be determined after the program receives final approval.