Jeff Kiessel | daily news

One of the new safety items for the Ludington Mass Transportation Authority included the installation of custom-made cough and sneeze shields that quickly snap into place on our buses and vans providing protection for the rider and driver. These shields were installed on 12 buses, according to Paul Keson, executive director.

The Ludington Mass Transportation Authority on Aug. 4 will be presenting voters in the City of Ludington and the City of Scottville with a 1.2267-mill renewal for LMTA to provide public transportation.

“The last approved millage was for 1.25 mills which had been reduced due to effects of Headlee Rollbacks in both Ludington and Scottville years ago,” said Paul Keson, executive director LMTA. “This renewal, if approved, will collect 1.2267 mills from 2021 through 2025 and levy an estimated $370,000.00 its first year. The millage provides funding for public transportation purposes including capital and operating expenses.”

Keson said LMTA has always provided ridership to Scottville. It has always been Monday through Friday but recently it started providing Saturday, one day a month, which has been well received.

“The renewal millage would cost a homeowner, with a $50,000 taxable value in Ludington and Scottville $61.34 per year or approximately $5.12 per month,” said Keson. “The millage funds approximately 20 percent of the authority’s budget.”

Local contracts with businesses such as West Michigan Community Mental Health, West Shore Community College, local school programs, elderly care facilities, Pere Marquette Charter Township and more provide approximately 15 percent of the budget, according to Keson.

Keson added that revenues generated from individual passengers, which range from $1 to $2 per passenger, account for 10 percent, and state and federal funding contribute the remaining 55 percent to make up the authority’s estimated $2 million budget.

The LMTA has been in operation for more than 45 years dating back to 1974. LMTA serves the communities of Ludington, Scottville and Pere Marquette Charter Township.

LMTA employs 11 full time and 36 part-time employees.

Keson said last year LMTA logged 177,659 passengers, which included 34,704 seniors, 94,115 regular passengers, 34,016 disabled/special needs passengers and 14,824 disabled seniors.

Like many other businesses and organizations, LMTA has had to make some adjustments with COVID-19 pandemic to provide a safe environment for its ridership.

LMTA has installed a custom-made cough and sneeze shields that quickly snaps into place on our buses and vans providing protection for the rider and driver on 12 of their buses. Increased facility and bus cleaning to reflect the recommendations from the Federal Transit Authority, MDOT and the CDC.

Keson said another area of focus was given to positively tested COVID-19 individuals who may need transportation and do not have any other options. LMTA and District Health Department No. 10 worked together on a short-term lease agreement that involved a bus previously scheduled to be sold. The lease was for $1 and the bus was to be used and operated.

The ballot language reads:

Shall the Ludington Mass Transportation Authority, County of Mason, Michigan, be authorized to levy a renewal of the previously voted tax increase, which expires in 2020, in an amount not to exceed 1.2267 mills ($1.2267 on each $1,000 of taxable value) against all taxable property within the Ludington Mass Transportation Authority limits (the jurisdictional limits of the City of Ludington and the City of Scottville) for a period of five (5) years, 2021 to 2025, inclusive, for the purpose of providing funds for all public transportation authority purposes permitted by law, including all capital and operating expenses? The estimate of the revenue the Ludington Mass Transportation Authority will collect if the millage is approved and levied by the Ludington Mass Transportation Authority in the first year (2021) is approximately $370,000. A portion of the revenue collected may be subject to capture by the Downtown Development Authority and the Mason County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority.

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