NRoute asks Vicksburg for increased funding

Published 11:15 am Thursday, March 29, 2012

Faced with a projected $50,000 shortfall by the end of the 2011-12 fiscal year, the NRoute Transit Commission wants the Board of Mayor and Aldermen to allocate an additional $10,000 a month to help the transit system’s budget.

The commissioners’ decision came at the end of a projected profit and loss statement presented by Nathan Cummins of May and Company, NRoute’s accountant. According to the projections, NRoute’s expenses will average about $50,000 a month for the rest of the fiscal year, with income averaging about $40,000 a month.

They want to present their request to the board in April, but did not set a date and did not say whether they would ask the board to raise the city’s allocation to NRoute next year.

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“We’re cutting our budget as lean as we can be,” Commissioner Don Brown said. “We need to make it to the end of the year.”

NRoute receives $135,000 a year from the city, which is paid in installments of $11,250 a month. It received $225,000 a month before Mayor Paul Winfield took office. The Board of Mayor and Aldermen later reduced the amount to $135,000 a year.

The transit system’s other main source of revenue is federal transportation funds distributed through the Mississippi Department of Transportation and development. NRoute’s 2011 federal budget was $875,564. It is asking for $886,108 this year.

Commissioner Mark Buys said the $50,000 request “is a stopgap. At the very least we will start off the next year all right.”

He asked if the commission could seek grants from MDOT, but NRoute executive director Evelyn Bumpers said the only grants available were match grants, where NRoute would have to come up with matching funds, “and there are no funds for matches.”

In other action, the commission:

• Learned that March ridership was at 2,667, which was down from the March 2011 total of 3,192. NRoute had 17,932 for the first six months of the 2012 fiscal year — 630 riders more than for the same period in 2011.

Fares for the same period, however, were down $152.52, from $18,927.53 in 2011, to $18,775.01 in 2012.

• Approved the minutes of the February meeting.

• Approved the finance report.