PARKERSBURG - Mid-Ohio Valley Transit Authority officials have not finalized the purchase of property for a bus maintenance garage, said General Manager Tim Thomas.
All MOVTA board members were present at Tuesday's meeting. Ridership was reported to have increased 9.2 percent in October compared to October 2011. Ridership increased 7.3 percent in October from the previous month.
Thomas presented board member Sam Baldwin with a certification of appreciation in recognition of his service with the armed forces.
Photo by Mandi Cardosi
MOVTA General Manager Tim Thomas, right, presents board member Sam Baldwin, left, with a certificate for serving in the U.S. Marine Corps before Tuesday’s meeting as other board members applaud.
"This certificate is in honor for his service in the United States Marines," said Thomas.
The annual audit conducted by Tetrick & Bartlett in Clarksburg found the transit authority still lacks in segregation of duties. Thomas said this issue will come up as long as the organization is small and can't afford to hire more employees.
"It also says in the report that additional personnel is not economically feasible for this size of a company," Thomas said.
Thomas said the First Street property owned by the transit authority did not have to be announced at a public auction, and was sold for less than the appraised value because of the environmental conditions. The Department of Environmental Protection has to be involved, he said.
"The federal transit administration does not require us to do it," he said about the public auction. "I checked with the state and the policy is we can sell the property; we have to advertise it for bid and that's what we did."
The building on First Street contains asbestos and the transit authority would not have been able to fund an entire disposal and renovation of the property, Thomas said.
Thomas said the initial appraisal for the First Street building was $290,000, without the environmental concerns. He said the additional costs for demolition were estimated by Burgess & Niple to be about $100,000 and the bid received by the city was "a fair price."
When federal funds are involved, a requirement is if the product has met its "useful life," according to Thomas. In this case, the building up for sale was advertised in the newspaper at least three times and administrators took the highest bid.
"The FTA (Federal Transit Administration) wants us to get rid of the property," he said.
Thomas said the FTA requires the MOVTA to do certain things to dispose of a property or product accordingly. He has been in contact with officials to make sure standards are accomplished, Thomas said.
MOVTA officials wanted to purchase the lot that houses the Parkersburg fire station on Camden Avenue. Transit officials are looking for the best fit for a bus maintenance garage, they said.
The transit authority would prefer to have a garage close to the bus terminal and is focusing on the city property at Camden Avenue and East Street, said Thomas.
The authority recently approved selling the garage on First Street to Jim McCutcheon, highest bidder, for $155,000. The outdated garage at 213 First St. is about two blocks from where the MOVTA originally began.
The building was purchased with funds from a federal grant, much like the one the authority has received now. The building was most recently used as an office and bus maintenance facility.
Wood County Prosecutor Jason Wharton said he started looking into the property issue but has not come to any conclusions.
"We received a complaint and any complaint we get we want to look into," he said.
Wharton said he needs to discuss the matter with transit authority administrators to make sure the proper legal proceedings are followed.