City OKs paying half of bus operating costs, demands seat on OCT board

bus

With time running out to keep these Crestview route buses running, the city council unanimously approved funding half the county's operating cost.

BRIAN HUGHES | News Bulletin
Published: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 14:20 PM.

CRESTVIEW — The Crestview City Council, in what some officials fear is a precedent-setting move, has unanimously agreed to fund half the cost of continuing to operate county bus service in town.

The Board of County Commissioners had established a Nov. 4 deadline for the city to find funding for local bus routes 11 and 12, which otherwise faced elimination.

The city hopes funding will come from an increased share of county gas tax money, though city clerk Betsy Roy said the amount the city will receive won't be determined for several months.

At its Monday evening meeting, council members expressed displeasure at having to pay for a service no other city in the county is asked to support.

"We do pay county taxes and this is a county transportation system," Councilman Tom Gordon said. "That means the people of Crestview who pay county taxes pay twice. I don't like that."

In exchange for agreeing to pay upward of $48,125 to keep local routes operating, the council demanded city representation on the board of Okaloosa County Transit, a private company that operates the county bus service.

"You're here to request money from our citizens, but that bus service does not fall under any line item of the city of Crestview, so we have no oversight of that service but we're asked to sign a check," Council President Robyn Helt told OCT representatives.



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