Local governments consider cutbacks in KAT funding
WILLMAR -- The Kandiyohi Area Transit system may have to operate on fewer dollars from local government donors.
At a joint powers meeting Friday, members of the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners and Willmar City Council who sit on the KAT board said they may reduce their annual contribution in 2010.
The two entities annually provide $9,000 each to KAT.
New London and Spicer, which each contribute $2,600 to KAT annually for the senior volunteer program, are also considering reducing allocations this year because of budget issues.
Transit Director Tiffany Collins said KAT was asked to review its revenues to determine if it could operate with less in local government funds in 2010.
Ridership on KAT, combined with a slight fare increase this year, has helped improve operating revenues, Collins said. However, she added, contributions from the county and municipalities are important to KAT's budget.
"We're hopeful they'll be able to continue supporting KAT," she said.
Between 500 and 520 passengers ride KAT buses every day. That's about 20 more daily riders than this time last year.
Collins said ridership is expected to increase when the new northwest Willmar route is established sometime this spring. That fixed route will primarily serve residents who live on the northwest side of town and work in businesses located in the industrial park.
Once KAT receives the bus for that route, existing city routes will be altered and use of the downtown bus transfer station will increase, she said.
KAT is requesting permission to use the county's 911 maps so that dispatchers can have more detailed mapping information.