Sharon Fipps, executive director of All Points Transit, updated Delta City Council members and staff on new transportation initiatives in the Delta area. The city funds the program to the tune of $17,430 a year.
All Points Transit provides transportation for disabled and senior citizens throughout Delta County. The service can be used for medical needs, senior meals, shopping, errands, socialization or volunteer opportunities.
Fipps said to increase ridership, specifically medical ridership, All Points added two drivers, bringing the number of drivers in Delta County to six. A minivan was added to assist passengers with larger wheelchairs that could not be accommodated by the bus lift. The minivan can also be used when there are just a few passengers.
The effort paid off -- medical riders, January through August, were up 39.6 percent, Fipps said.
"What we're doing is working, and I'm thrilled," she said.
All Points also expanded hours in Delta County, to accommodate medical appointments later in the day.
In January, a new medical shuttle will begin providing service three days a week. Service will be dedicated to a specific area of the county, bringing riders from Paonia/Crawford, Hotchkiss and Cedaredge to the hospital and clinics in Delta. All Points also delivers patients to the River Valley Family Health Center in Olathe.
Currently, All Points Transit averages 791 rides a month. At that pace, Fipps said All Points Transit will provide 9,945 rides this year.
Contributions from Delta County and its municipalities fund 40 percent of the cost of the rides. State and federal grants make up the difference. In addition, All Points Transit recently held an Oktoberfest fundraiser in Montrose.
Fipps said transportation is an "expensive venture," but it is vital for accessibility and independence for seniors, the disabled and the general public in All Points' service area, which includes all of Delta and Montrose counties, as well as a portion of San Miguel County.
The presentation by Fipps was made during a budget work session that also included input from Delta County Economic Development (DCED) and the Delta Area Chamber of Commerce. The city budgeted $25,000 for DCED, the same as in 2015, and set aside an additional $25,000 for a specific project not yet identified.
Leslie Workman, chamber director, asked the city to join the President's Circle, the highest level of membership, and to donate $3,000 for special events such as Deltarado Days. The 2016 budget accommodates the higher level of membership, but councilmembers want to consider requests for special events as the need arises. The $3,000 was set aside to be spent at their discretion.
The 2016 budget also includes donations of $2,000 for fireworks; $300 for Delta High School's grad night party; $50 for street flags; $585 for the Health Fair (offsetting the rec center rental fee); and $1,000 for the housing rehab program administered by the Delta Housing Authority.
Club 20, Region 10 and Colorado Municipal League dues are also included in the budget.
The election results are in at the local, state and national level, and as expected, Democrats are doing well in state and national races. Colorado has elected Jared Polis as governor; nationally the Republicans appear to retain control of the Senate while Democrats now control the House of Representative.
With a ballot full of local and state measures, voter turnout in Delta County topped 71%, with 15,889 ballots cast. Statewide, voter turnout was just over 52%.
Of the three Delta County residents seeking state offices, Matt Soper won over Thea Chase in State Representative Dist. 54; Mike Mason lost to Julie McCluskie in State Representative Dist. 61; and Olen Lund lost to Kerry Donovan in State Senate Dist. 5.
Locally, in the City of Delta voters rejected a .5% sales tax increase to fund recreation, as well as recreational marijuana sales. The sale of medical marijuana and cultivation/manufacturing facilities was approved by a slim margin. Delta voters also gave the city the green light to move forward with selling or trading the Cottonwood and Riverbend Park, and to sell the old Municipal Light and Power Building.