MOTA waiting for federal funds to arrive


BIG RAPIDS — Waiting for federal funds and two outstanding invoices from one client to arrive may create a short-term financial pinch for Mike Tillman.

However, the executive director of the Mecosta Osceola Transit Authority, told his board of directors July 20 he already has plans to cash in a CD to cover the upcoming payroll for employees.

The outstanding invoices should be deposited at anytime, Tillman said.

“They’ve been authorized and I’m just waiting,” he said.

However, the arrival of funds from the Federal Transit Authority remains unknown.

“The Lord knows when those (funds) will show up,” he said. “It all depends on what they do at the federal level. President Trump did propose $1.5 billion less than last year, and they’ve been able to find about $1 billion. That still leaves $500 million to make up.”

Members of the board of directors also approved hiring Patricia Tillman, the executive director’s wife, to work part-time to organize years of records that are not in any discernible order for a records audit expected in 2019.

“There are boxes filled with our records. Records from Mecosta and Osceola counties, and records we have beginning last year when I started,” Mike explained. “I’ve seen one box labeled ‘various records.’ I don’t know what’s in there or when it was put there.”

Board members agreed the part-time position would not exceed more than 20 hours per week or 100 hours in all. They also authorized Patricia Tillman to report directly to MOTA’s Operations Supervisor Mary Vargo or the board of directors.

“I know, having worked with Pat before, she does things the way they need to be done,” Vargo said. “She crosses all the T’s and dots all the I’s.”

Mike Tillman abstained from providing any support for or against the measure.

The board of directors also approved an agreement with Hope Network for janitorial services and bus detailing.

The executive director also provided board members updates on for ongoing items, including:

A request made by Sandy Dalrymple of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program for him to serve on its board of directors. He explained Dalrymple serves on MOTA’s advisory council, but wanted to check with the board of directors. The installation of a new computer server is expected to take place the last weekend of July.

MOTA’s new bus should arrive within two weeks. There has been a request from the Red Hat Strutters of Clare County, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit, to purchase MOTA’s bus that will be out of commission when the new bus arrives for $1.

Mike Tillman explained in the past, MOTA has allowed similar purchases of old, unused buses by nonprofits on a case-by-case basis. Nothing will be determined, he said, until MOTA accepts the delivery of the new bus.

A recent financial look at the halfway point of the fiscal year shows MOTA has spent 53 percent of its budgeted funds.

“We had an increase of worker’s compensation insurance from $8,300 last year to $25,000 this year,” Tillman said. “We’ve also been able to do some construction work.” He noted they will continue to keep a close eye on the budget. A draft of an agreement with the Mecosta-Osceola Intermediate School District.

The next MOTA Board of Directors meeting is scheduled for 8 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 17.