Montcalm County Transportation Authority broke

By Elisabeth Waldon • Last Updated 9:51 am on Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Montcalm County Transportation Authority is an estimated $10,000 in the red after the failure of a countywide public transportation system millage vote on Nov. 8.
That is leading to questions of whether the authority will be able to pay its costs stemming from the election.
According to Montcalm County Clerk Kristen Millard, the Transportation Authority owes the county $6,000 from the vote, including $3,100 for ballots and $2,800 for programming the question on the ballots.
That doesn’t include the money the Transportation Authority owes to all the townships in Montcalm County for each township’s cost of the election. Millard estimates that cost about $200 per precinct, or another $4,000, bringing the Transportation Authority’s total amount due to abut $10,000.
“There are no campaign finance reports as no dollars were spent by the authority,” Chairman Franz Mogdis told The Daily News in response to a Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) request. “The Montcalm County Transportation Authority has not had nor does it have any bank account or funds. The November election costs are being tabulated and we will be working to see them paid. The Authority formed no official campaign finance committee. The Authority did not solicit funds or accept any funds.”
In the summer of 2008, the Montcalm Countywide Transit Initiative Steering Committee directed a planning committee to develop a bus service plan for countywide transportation. The Transportation Authority was formed in February 2010.
On Nov. 14, 2011, Mogdis and fellow Transportation Authority members Marty Combs, Larry Moss, Pat Hinrichs and Glenn Ritter met to analyze the millage failure. They determined the failure was the result of poor coordination and distribution of information, not enough time to get information out, information not being included on the county website and low voter turn-out.
The five Transportation Authority members unanimously voted Nov 14 to ask the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners to extend the original formation resolution from today until Dec. 31, 2012. Transportation Authority members George Hubbard and Shannon Winnie were not present at the meeting.
On Dec. 12, the Board of Commissioners deadlocked 4-4 on whether to extend the resolution and allow the Transportation Authority to bring the proposal back for another vote. A tie vote means the motion failed.
Moss declined to comment on the Transportation Authority’s financial status.
Combs, Hinrichs, Hubbard, Ritter and Winnie did not return messages seeking comment.
According to Transportation Authority meeting minutes, Winnie has not attended a meeting since May 4, 2010.

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