Sunset Empire Transportation District Directors meet Thursday morning to hold a hearing on the proposed fiscal year budget that their Executive Director says focuses on stability for the organization. Jay Flint has had his hands full since replacing disgraced former Executive Director Cindy Howe in 2011.
In his budget message Flint talks about his focus on stability over the next year and he points to some successes in re-establishing some of the services, particularly for south county over the past year. He says that it was most impactful for riders that the district was able to provide for hourly summer service between Seaside and Cannon Beach and states that new weekend service was significant.
When Howe departed it was discovered that the District was facing severe consequences from some of the actions she took in controlling the budget. The improper use of state funds intended to supplement the Northwest .Ride Center exclusively were instead used to pay for overall operations. Once this misuse was reported the Oregon Health Authority's Division of Medical Assistance Program insisted on immediate repayment. The district instead negotiated a repayment schedule of $145,373 a year for the next five years.
The District also owes for the construction of the Astoria Transit Center. The loan from the Special Districts Of Oregon Flex-Lease program amounts to $171,008 over the next fiscal year. The District had also had taken out several loans over the course of time which Flint consolidated into one loan through Clatsop Community Bank. The District writes a check for $78,882 this year to pay that loan down. Finally, SETD is part of a settlement with Georgia-Pacific Wanna Mill to pay back excess taxes that were collected. All taxing districts share in paying that money back and SETD is responsible for $3,764 a year on a ten year bond.
Flint reports that revenue roll-over into fiscal year 2013-14 from last year is expected at $646,468 though he says that the District is trending below budget for the current year so it's likely that amount would be higher. Court ordered restitution from former Executive Director Cindy Howe ion the amount of $7,871 dollars would be added to the total carry-over amount.
Flint reports that fare revenue is stabilizing along with stabilized routes and estimates income of $215,000. Flint says the District is anticipating a return to non-medical service for the elderly and disabled. He states this comes ith a 63% reimbursement rate from the State on a projected $10,000 worth of service producing $6300.00 in projected revenue. The loan payment to the Special Districts Flex-Lease payment is subsidized in part by the Northwest Rider center program with the State picking up a projected $55,000.00 this fiscal year. In other income Flint says the District makes $10,420 in rentals which is made of 16 parking space leases and rental income from the electric vehicle charging station located in the Transit Center parking lot.
Flint also says contracted services through intergovernmental agreements worth the City of Cannon Beach, Tongue Point, and Medicaid rides with the Northwest Ride Center is expected to raise $53,889.00
The entire budget is available for review at the Astoria Transit Center where the District Board will hold the budget hearing on Thursday, June 27th at 9:00am