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Officials to huddle on bus line's future

March 23, 2004|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Officials from municipalities served by the Chambersburg Transit Authority will huddle with representatives from the authority and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation today to get another look at the numbers in a five-year recovery plan to repay the bus system's debts.

"The financial figures we're getting are not jiving," Borough Council Vice President Robert Wareham said Monday night. "After the meeting tomorrow, we may have a better idea of where we're going."

"The borough's contribution over the five years is going to be significant," said Borough Manager Eric Oyer. He said the figures need to be more closely analyzed. "We're looking at anything from $25,000 to $125,000 a year" for the local match, he said.

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At the March 8 council meeting, Oyer said estimates of the transit authority's debt differed by $771,000 to $1.2 million among several people who looked at the plan. That would mean the local share for a one-way ride would be between $12 and more than $18, he said then.

Oyer said he expected representatives at today's meeting from Waynesboro, Pa., and Greene, Hamilton and Washington townships, which are also served by the system.

Monday night's discussion was prompted by questions from Peg Eyer, an authority board member, who asked why the council had not acted to seat a representative from Hamilton Township on the nine-member board.

Wareham said the council wants to wait and see what the authority's financial condition is before it decides how to proceed. Part of the recovery plan recommended that all authority board members submit resignations, giving the council the opportunity to accept the resignations or reappoint members.

"I hope the board doesn't have a hidden agenda," Eyer said, suggesting the council may want to replace all the board members.

"The fault lies with the former board," Eyer said of the authority.

She placed part of the blame on council President William McLaughlin, whom she said "dropped the ball" as the authority's former treasurer by not checking expenditures approved by the authority's former executive director, Eva McKula.

Oyer said Monday he will not discuss the results of today's meeting until next Monday's council meeting.

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