City of Casper steadfast in decision to manage transit operations
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (PRESS RELEASE) - On May 7, 2021, the City of Casper will take over transit operations from the Casper Area Transportation Coalition (CATC).
“We are steadfast that our decision to terminate our relationship with CATC was the right decision for Casper area citizens. We will not have a break in transit service, and we will not have a break in the federal funding that provides that service,” stated City Manager Carter Napier.
CATC was notified of contract termination on April 7, 2021 due to lack of accountability by CATC leadership on funding.
According to Casper officials, CATC had a contract with the City of Casper for over $2.2 million to provide transit services, beginning July 1, 2020. Upon adoption of the CARES ACT, the contract between Casper and CATC was amended, and the CARES ACT was to pay 100% of all expense line items except utilities. No other governmental entity or non-profit was to be billed for its pledged local match.
“However, it was found that CATC continued to bill and collect local match money from other local governmental entities and non-profits,” explained Napier. “The money, of course, should have stayed in the budgets of the local governmental entities and non-profits.”
According to Casper officials, it was found that CATC also applied for grants exceeding $700,000 and received grants totaling over $300,000 after the adoption of the CARES ACT.
“CATC leadership has failed to explain the monies it collected for expenses that had already been paid by the City of Casper, and now the City’s request to make a smooth transition has been met with statements to the media that are absurd and some of which seem to be broadcast for the sole purpose of scaring bus riders,” said Napier.
According to Napier, CATC has been using the example that Casper does not have dispatch software. Napier went on to explain that when Casper attempted to purchase the same software, the software company refused to sell the software telling Casper’s IT department that they had already heard of the “issue” and declined to sell Casper the product until Casper agreed with CATC.
“Casper dispatches thousands of police cars and emergency services calls throughout Natrona County,” reported Napier. “We certainly have the expertise to dispatch buses without this software, though it likely would have made it easier. The question we are left with is whether CATC, a non-profit corporation, will return the funds taken from riders, non-profit and government contributors, and grantors.”
Copyright 2021 Wyoming News Now. All rights reserved.