Funding issue means county will pay more of TAWC costs

In 2010, Warren County partnered with Experience Inc./Area Agency on Aging, municipal governments, and the Transit Authority of Warren County (TAWC) in a funding deal.

The entities collectively provided from $30,000 to $42,000 per year. Those dollars were provided to TAWC as local match for the entity’s primary source of funds — PennDOT, which in turn provided more than $500,000 every year.

“This was set up in 2010, in order to collect money for the fixed route program,” Commissioner Jeff Eggleston said. “Experience Inc. engaged in the match.”

PennDOT examined the funding stream.

“Experience Inc. gets most of its funds from the state,” Eggleston said.

So, the match agreement was using state dollars to bring in state dollars.

PennDOT did not allege any wrongdoing, Eggleston said, but it was not a situation the department would allow to continue.

PennDOT required that payments of $106,450 by Experience Inc. be repaid.

The county will make annual payments of $10,645 over 10 years. It’s not about making Experience Inc. whole, Eggleston said, so much as the county retroactively putting in matching dollars to replace the ones originally and inappropriately given by Experience.

The change will strengthen Experience Inc., Eggleston said, which is being “squeezed” by state regulations.

To keep the state dollars flowing, the county must take on more of the local match moving forward.

“It’s a pretty big swing in order to support the TAWC,” he said. “The county is putting in the match. We’ve made a commitment to public transportation.”