The Transit Authority of Warren County is looking for funds to keep its fixed-route service running.
Buses run from Youngsville and Sheffield to Warren and from Max Drive in Pleasant Township to the Veterans Administration Clinic in Conewango Township.
Local contributions of $38,000 will leverage $800,000 in state and federal funding, according to TAWC Chairman Tom Hessley.
The organization sent letters to a number of Warren County municipalities in recent weeks.
"For 34 years, we have been able to meet the local match requirements," Hessley said. "But, in recent years, both the city and county have not appropriated local match monies to the authority. Without these local funds we will not be able to continue the fixed-route service as it now exists."
Hessley and TAWC Executive Director John Aldrich addressed Warren City Council on Monday.
"Public transportation was a good idea 34 years ago, and it is even a better idea today," Hessley said. "Other municipalities in the county have continued to fund our efforts over the years. I respectfully request that Warren City Council again appropriate funds in your budget to help us serve your citizens."
Because the routes originate at the TAWC building in Warren and an estimated 50 percent of riders are city residents, TAWC asked city council for the lion's share of municipal match - $7,500. The city had contributed that amount each year from 2006 to 2009. Other municipalities, from Youngsville in the west, and Sheffield to the southeast, to Glade, Pleasant, and Conewango townships, were asked for much less. TAWC can use the $10,000 to $12,000 it earns from selling advertising space on the sides of its buses toward the match and officials hope for a contribution from the Warren County Commissioners.
City Council members generally agreed that losing the fixed-route service was something to be avoided.
"We're leveraging such a small amount of money for such a great benefit... I'd really hate to see the buses go away," council member Sam Harvey said. "Let's have disabled people and people who are disadvantaged be able to go to work."
However, they were not convinced that the contribution breakdown was equitable.
"I'd be willing to match, dollar for dollar, the other municipalities," council member Chris Park said. "Let the other townships know, this is all we're going to pony up."
"We know we're the lead dog," Mayor Mark Phillips said.
"We can budget out $7,500 and if the other municipalities don't pony up their portion..." Park said.
Council members John Lewis and Dr. Howard Ferguson suggested that TAWC do some research and come up with a more equitable method of dividing the donation requests based on population, or population in the service area.
Lewis said Conewango Township is one of the main beneficiaries of the bus service.
"I'd like to challenge them to match us dollar for dollar," he said. "They are benefiting as much as the city from ridership."
Council did not take formal action on the request. Its budget is due by the end of the year.