The Knox County Board approved the incorporation of a mass transit district to service both Galesburg and rural communities.
The vote to approve it came after a failed attempt to table the resolution came from Board member Bob Bondi, saying that the board was rushing to vote on it.
Dedra Mannon, the Galesburg Handivan Coordinator, says that the need in the county is desperate.
“Not a day goes by we don’t receive a phone call in one office or another. Today I had seven phone calls,” Mannon told the board. “And, it’s the doctor’s office calling. ‘I’ve got a passenger that needs eye surgery, how do I get her here?’ At this very moment, I can shuffle them to the VNA and they’re very short staffed and they don’t have the ability to do that. So, it’s important to get this done.”
Other board members disagreed, saying that the need for transportation effects people with low-incomes get around.
Mannon said that it isn’t just people with low-incomes that are affected.
“Transportation isn’t just for those of the low income either. We have folks in Williamsfield, Yates City, [and] Douglas… they wake up, and their child is sick from school, and they have to miss work because their child is sick from school. They [go to get them] to the doctor and the car won’t start. It’s the emergency situation where you don’t realize you need transportation until you need transportation.”
Mannon told the board the transit district would save the City of Galesburg general fund money, and allow the mass transit system to pull funds from Federal and State money.
She says that neither the county or the city would be responsible for local matching funds to the mass transit district.
The district now awaits approval by the Galesburg City Council and the drafting of the articles of incorporation that must be completed as well.
The board also approved maintenance contracts for all county entities to MSI.