The Sedalia City Council learned a little more about the OATS organization during its meeting Monday after a presentation from Midwest Regional Director Tracy Walkup.
OATS has been operating as the public transportation provider in Sedalia since 1988, and served 1,050 unique riders — an increase of 10 percent since 2010 — in the city with 24 vehicles and 21 drivers in 2014. OATS operates in 87 counties in Missouri and serves people in rural areas regardless of age or income, senior citizens, people with disabilities, people who use service animals, people who use Medicaid insurance for non-emergency medical assistance, and people who use oxygen tanks and other necessary equipment, Walkup said during her presentation.
“Who rides with OATS? We contract with the nursing homes. We transport people from the (sheltered) workshop, we have regular routes to Tyson (Inc.),” she said. “We transport Medicaid clients to medical appointments. We have a full schedule six days a week of dialysis patients, we take shoppers, we take Head Start children. We transport people young and old, regardless of disability.”
The city’s cost for OATS is $0.24 per one-way passenger trip, while the total cost per passenger one-way trip is $9.22 — Walkup noted those figures are estimates for the City of Sedalia since the Midwest Region serves 13 counties. For the 2014 Fiscal Year ending June 30, it cost $655,786 to operate OATS in Sedalia, and the city contributed a $17,000 subsidy.
OATS vehicles traveled a total of 404,806 miles in Sedalia, which Walkup noted, “that’s a lot of trips across Sedalia.”
“As for the future of public transportation, there is always going to be an unmet need. But Sedalia stands out as a rural community because you have six-day a week service,” Walkup said. “Most rural communities would love to have that and cannot figure out how to afford to do it. Some of our runs begin as early as 4 a.m. and some of them don’t end until 6 p.m. or later, but it still doesn’t fulfill all the requests. … There is always going to be a time slot that we simply cannot fill, there’s no way you can afford to have that many vehicle to fill all the requests.”
During the pre-meeting council also heard a financial report from Finance Director Kelvin Shaw. City Administrator Gary Edwards said this will now be a monthly presentation to keep council members up-to-date on the city’s finances.
During the meeting council also:
• Approved an ordinance approving a Road Relinquishment Agreement and a Quit Claim Deed with the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission for a portion of old state Route 50, also known as Main Street Road/Leroy Van Dyke Road. The land will be used for the western “Welcome to Sedalia” sign. The second sign will be placed at the city’s east entrance on city land.
• Approved a bid from Alliance Pump & Mechanical Service Inc. for $14,015 for the Main Street West Lift Station Rehab.
• Approved an ordinance amending Ordinance No. 9348 by changing the three-way stop at the intersection of Clarendon Road and Anderson Avenue to a one-way stop. The recommendation from the Citizen’s Traffic Advisory Commission was approved by a vote of 3-2.
• Approved an ordinance approving and accepting permanent and temporary utility easements and temporary construction easements from various property owners for sanitary sewer purposes relating to the sewer relief project.
• Approved an ordinance adding a fee for a mausoleum burial in Crown Hill Cemetery to Section 14-26 of the Code of Ordinances and to the fee schedule.
• Approved a records destruction request from the Personnel Department.
• Approved a quote for $12,799.33 for the renewal of the licensing agreement with Microsoft through Insight Public Sector.
• Approved an ordinance approving an additional software license agreement with New World Systems Corp. for increased licensing for additional laptop software for the Sedalia Police Department to obtain information for report writing and warrant checks.
• Appointed Councilman Tollie Rowe to the Economic Development Board with a term expiring December 2015 and Mayor Steve Galliher to the Sedalia Area Tourism Commission with a term expiring Dec. 31, 2017.
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 826-1000 ext. 1482 or @NicoleRCooke.