F’ville’s Mayor Steele seeks tax-funded call center for seniors’ transit needs

’Prefers’ shifting cost later to private entity

A proposal being suggested by Fayette and a number of other counties in the 10-county Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) area is meant to address the current and future needs of the area’s rapidly aging population.

Being submitted for the Regional Transportation Roundtable (RTR) list of possible projects would be the establishment of a regional call center to serve older adults, the disabled and others throughout the 10-county that need transportation services.

The call center would match older adults, persons with disabilities and low-income citizens with the most effective and least expensive travel options.

The idea for the proposal came from the ARC 2008 Atlanta Regional Transportation Management Coordination Center Feasibility Study which cited the need for a physical system to provide scheduling, dispatching, vehicle tracking and trip booking through a fully integrated human services transportation system.

As envisioned in the study, the call center would share information, coordinate public and private transportation and integrate vehicle and service delivery.

Fayetteville Mayor Ken Steele, who also serves as chairman of the ARC Aging Services Committee, said the project may be appropriate for Transportation Investment Act funding. Steele said Fayette and a number of other ARC counties recognize the current and future need and are submitting the same proposal for consideration by the RTR. If approved for the list, and if ultimately approved by voters in mid-2012, the call center could be established somewhere in the 10-county area.

“There’s a real need for senior transportation. The (counties) are applying in hopes of getting the funding,” Steele said. “By all the counties asking for it that means it is worthwhile region-wide.”

The proposal by Fayette and the other counties does not specify where the call center would be located. Nor does it specify if the call center would be operated by a private company or a public/private agreement.

“I don’t envision a public entitlement program. I would encourage a private or public/private (entity) to operate the center if it comes about. I would ultimately prefer a private provider,” Steele said.

The proposal calls for a one-call service center and accompanying web-based system to be built upon the previously established centers operated by ARC and the 211 service center operated by the United Way.

Fayette County has the third fastest growing older population in the ARC region. Fayette’s senior population is expected to increase 450 percent in less than 30 years.

OnTheStreet
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$7Million for transport call center

A little research gives us some more numbers. While I did not crunch the math myself, fayette's 50K estimated contribution (assuming that number is real) is to be put in with the other 10 counties contributions and become $1Million for the first startup year or two, then the project will require $7Million per year as it expands to include more trip tracking, software, hardware, etc. i believe this plan is based on an HST doc "a coordinated plan for the atlanta region" which was developed by the ARC. Of course, a huge portion of these funds go toward the service of other counties with much larger populations at or below poverty level. But a huge portion of the funds will come from those counties as well and much of the eventual funding will likely be indirectly federal dollars. I am not advocating here, but somebody questioned the numbers, so I am providing a few more to think about.

Spear Road Guy
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You've got to be messing up the figures. There's no way you can be running a call center for a population around 5 million for $50,000. Dream on buddy!!!

One low level employee is going to cost you $30,000. How you going to buy computers, other employees, a facility???

You're buying into Mayor Ken Gaddafi's bull hockey!!!

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Senior Transport proposal - I'm not drinking the ...

I didn't say I bought it. I just said that was the thinking behind it. We all know 50K can do something locally when combined with volunteers, churches, etc, but on a regional government level it won't pay for the paperwork required to process the funds. Thought I made that clearer than i did.

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Mass Transit

This really has nothing to do with mass transit and Fayette Senior Services provides transportation to a very limited number of people based on a very limited budget, almost none of which comes from local tax dollars. But the 50K would go much further for Fayette if sent directly to FSS as opposed to the 10 county area. By the time you spread the 50K over 10 counties, a staffer, and some computer equipment, that system would be spread too thin to be particularly effective unless there is a private partner or other groups significantly supplementing the system.

ginga1414
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Spear Road Guy & BHH Are So Right

about Ken Steele it isn't funny. His verbal manipulations are masterful to say the least. The man needs to be replaced. He has his fingers in so many pies it is a wonder he isn't being treated for sugar overload.

When Don Haddix didn't perform as Steele thought he should with his position on the Atlanta Regional Commission's Transportation Roundtable, Steele started the ball rolling to have Haddix ousted and replaced. Who replaced Haddix? Ken Steele, of course! That whole deal was a set-up from beginning to end.

Steele needs to be replaced!

Spear Road Guy
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Duplication???

Why are we going to waste sending our tax dollars to the region for something we already do locally through Fayette Senior Services???

This is Ken Steele being sneaky on the mass transit issue again!!! Vote the guy out in 2011.

BHH
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But then who'll run the county?

It's pretty clear he's in the driver's seat right now.

Spear Road Guy
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BHH

You're darn right!!! Ken Steele is Fayette County's version of Muammar Gaddafi.

Let's hope the rebels can break the line and save Fayette County!!!

ginga1414
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Pumpkin, Senior Comments

Just to add a little clarity to the subject, Pumpkin. Mr. Brown wouldn't tell you this but he is greatly involved with serving our senior population through his church.

Also, if any senior citizen is in need of transportation, they can call Senior Services in Fayette County right now and arrange for transportation. The link for those services is www.FaySS.org/PDFs/transportation.pdf For more information please call Becky Hendershot at 770-461-0813, Ext. 113.

The folks at Senior Services in Fayette County do a wonderful job and are more than willing to help with any problems senior citizens might have. They cover everything from Meals on Wheels, Transportation, home care, and plain old companionship.

No one in Fayette County wants our senior folks to do without and especially Commissioner Brown. However, we all want to make sure that services provided to our senior citizens are handled in the best possible way to support their needs.

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Senior Transportation

Whether Fayette Senior Services will provide transporation would depend on your level of need as there are limited funds and limited resources. Mayor Steele's proposal would go beyond the FSS funding and beyond the 211 database system allowing users in need to contact by phone or internet a database of those who provide services and hopefully to go beyond to actually match a service to an individual service, whether volunteer driver, transport service, or church organization. While 211 could expand, I suppose, they would still require funding to undertake that expansion to match the specific need to the service (For example wheelchair transport, etc). ARC has been involved in smaller, similar volunteer transportation projects and recently quoted a 50K startup cost for just a volunteer program in one county. I suppose Commissioner Brown is objecting to the process of getting the item on the list as much as the content, but the project is larger than just Fayette, so that may have influenced the request process for this particular item (though I would not condone "sneaking" anything on). The challenge for Fayette Seniors and others with limited means for transportation or medical transporation needs is growing each day. I applaud the attention to the problem and should the Regional Transportation Plan be funded, I can only hope that beyond road building, at least 5% of the unrestricted funds by all the government entities are directed toward point to point transportation needs. It really does not matter how wide the road is if you cannot drive and cannot afford to pay for routine transport.

pumpkin
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SENIOR COMMENTS

best damn idea i have heard in a long time, it is about time for the younger generations to realize they should assist seniors instead of throwing them away. good job mr steele.

steve brown you are a closed minded young man. (i have more choice words but will not use them in this venue) i pray the elders in your family have money or support from your priviledge life style to get them transported or continue an active life. thing is we are either stuck in homes, left on our own to sometimes be hungry and never see anyone, and sadly not receive the medical care we need. shame on you, perhaps it would be a study for you to study the cultures of other countries.

Steve Brown
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For the record:

The Board of Commissioners in Fayette did not send this project forward in its HB 277 list. We knew nothing about the project and Mayor Steele asked that it be added to the county list a day prior to our vote.

There are strong concerns about the lack of details and the "last minute" appearance of this item.

I am not sure why we have to create another layer of regional bureaucracy when this endeavor could probably be accomplished on the United Way 211 system.

PTC Observer
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Steve, Steve

It's only money and its free all we have do to is tax someone else!

Steele buys a few senior votes with the money and everyone is happy.....well almost everyone. Besides almost no one pays any attention to where their money is going.

Right Steve?

Like a thousand paper cuts isn't it?

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