MOTA’s new executive director looks to future

BIG RAPIDS — In his first meeting as the executive director of the Mecosta Osceola Transit Authority, Mike Tillman told the board of directors to be ready for the time when its current building will need attention. 

During the monthly meeting of the public transportation service on Thursday, Oct. 20, Tillman said the building is nearing the end of its functional life of 30 years.

“The building was originally built for CAT (Mecosta County Area Transit), and constructed in 1984,” he said. “The building’s rated life is through 2024, and it was rated for our needs at the time.”

Tillman said the organization is starting to see signs of outgrowing it, with space becoming an issue.

“Things have changed,” he said, using MOTA’s agreement with the Mecosta-Osceola Intermediate School District to share the facility as an example. “Over the year’s the building has served it’s purpose, but we’re coming to the end of practical use of it.”

Tillman said there are six acres to utilize if the board chooses to do so.

“We could consider an administration building off from this building,” he said. “We can’t afford to wait until the last minute. As the director, I not only think about day-to-day activities, but also things two years from now, seven years and 10 years down the line. We just have to look ahead and plan for it.”

Tillman also shared with board members the need to upgrade its anti-virus software for its computers and the systems, as well as the need for a server for the seven computers in use.

The board also approved dues of $813 to be paid to the Michigan Public Transit Association, a lobbying firm for public transit systems.

A longtime serving at-large board member, Tillman was hired as executive director during a special meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 12. The former executive director, Ron Schalow, resigned in mid-September to take a job out of state. Tillman had served as interim-director as the board searched for Schalow’s replacement.

The next regular monthly meeting for the MOTA Board of Directors is set for 8 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 17.