Members of Corry City Council recently decided to table an agreement with the Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority.
At Monday’s Council meeting, a letter from the EMTA’s Executive Director Mike Tann sent to Corry Redevelopment Authority Executive Director Rick Novotny was reviewed. The letter asked City Council to sign off on an agreement extending EMTA bus services in town.
“I have a big, big problem with this,” Corry Mayor Charlie Campbell said. “First off, it’s not even sent to the city of Corry, it’s addressed to Rick Novotny. It’s another case of someone else spending city money. It’s not supposed to be this way.”
Campbell said that last year when the agreement was first created, the city was responsible for paying $10,000.
“It was set up by Rick Novotny. He came up with $8,000 and Corry had to come up with the other $2,000,” Campbell said. “The city had to write the check for a total of $10,000. They donated the $8,000 to the city. Apparently, this is the way it’s supposed to happen again this year.”
Novotny said the original contact between the EMTA and Corry to set up the bus services came from the Corry Redevelopment Authority, and that’s why the agreement was addressed to him.
Corry City Manager Jason Biondi told Council that the city has already received the check for $8,000 for the contract renewal.
“That $2,000 is not in the 2017 budget,” Campbell said. “So here we are about to spend $2,000 before the year starts and we’ll already be in the red.”
Councilman Steve Bresler also voiced his concerns about the agreement.
“Nobody from the EMTA has come to Council to discuss this,” Bresler said. “I have a problem spending our money when no one even comes to us to talk about this. We all know from the paper that there’s a ridership issue. I want more information.”
Campbell added he would feel more comfortable paying the $2,000 if more people utilized the bus services.
“Don’t get me wrong, it’s great if it benefits the city and the community and residents really us it,” he said. “$2,000 from the city would be fine. I’m personally just not seeing it. To Mr. Bresler’s point, the EMTA needs to come to us and show us some figures why it is or isn’t being used. Give us a chance to make a decision. Don’t just throw something in front of us and tell us to sign it.”
Biondi added the city has been invited to a roundtable discussion concerning ridership of the EMTA. However, the roundtable is not exclusive to Corry.
Bresler suggested making a motion to table any further discussion on the EMTA agreement until a work session where representatives from the EMTA can be scheduled.
“I’d like to go a step further and make a motion to not sign this,” Campbell said in response to Bresler’s suggestion. “If they want to come back to us with something different, then we’ll see.”
Council ultimately decided to table discussion, until the EMTA can provide Council with sufficient information.
The motion was made by Councilman Steve Drake and seconded by Councilwoman Taree Hamilton. It was unanimously passed.