CATS rates go up

Published 12:02 am Thursday, July 11, 2013

Come October, it will cost a little more for residents to ride the CATS van.

Beginning then, the fares will increase per trip by $1. It is the first increase since 2004. Additional stops over two would increase by 50-cents. Currently, trips within town are $3; those within a 35-mile radius of town, $6; and outside a 35-mile radius, $7. Each additional stop is 50-cents each. That money, or “fare box money,” is used to meet the required 20 percent local match required for federal funding.

At present, the fares collected represent an estimated 16 percent of that local match, said CATS director Dianne Lawrence. She said in June, vans transported 570 passengers and made 793 trips. She said the bulk of the passengers – 48 percent – are from Andalusia; 17 percent from Opp; 7 percent from Florala, and the remaining 25 percent were county residents.

“And that’s why we need to increase,” Lawrence said in a Tuesday night public hearing on the rate increase. “We want to be self-sufficient, and we all know how much everything has gone up in price. We’ve not been immune to that.”

No one spoke out at the public hearing, and commissioners unanimously approved the increase Wednesday. It will become effective at the start of the new fiscal year on Oct. 1.

At the meeting, commissioners also gave Lawrence the authority to apply for the annual federal funds needed to run the program.

Discussions also turned to dogs when Paul Henderson of the Straughn Community told commissioners the county needs a leash law. Henderson, who has a problem with neighbors’ dogs on his property, said, “I think it can be funded, but the commission decided not to fool with a leash law, and we need one.”

Commissioners referred Henderson – and other property owners with similar nuisance pet problems – to the county sheriff’s office.

In other business, the commission:

• approved closing a portion of Colvin Road, effective Aug. 1;

• gave final approval of the Lake Estates subdivision;

• ratified a memorandum of understanding with the City of Andalusia to provide transportation services for disabled citizens to the city’s adult activity center;

• approved an off-premise beer license for the Lake Grocery in Opp; and,

• approved an employee rental rate for the USDA building.