County raises transit fee

BLUE EARTH – Faribault County commissioners voted this week to raise fees for out-of-county transit bus trips.

Commissioner Bill Groskreutz said bus drivers have reported it takes a lot of time to travel out of county, and it is usually for just one person.

Brenda Ripley of Central Services said the costs are the same whether the trip stays in the county or not, and suggested going by the number of miles traveled.

“What I’m afraid of doing is losing the Wells to Albert Lea [trips],” she said, mentioning there is a group that travels the route regularly.

Commissioner Tom Loveall pointed out there is a “kind of ring” that includes locations in and around the county.

“Our bus won’t go to Mankato,” he said.

Groskreutz suggested doubling the current out-of-county rate of $6 to $12 while still offering a discounted rate for groups of five or more.

“I don’t see a reason to change the rates,” said Commissioner John Roper. “Looks to me like we’re discriminating against a couple individuals.”

“Why wouldn’t we ask others going out of the county to pay more?” asked Commissioner Tom Warmka.

“Sometimes the driver ends up staying when he drops them off because it would take more time to come back,” Groskreutz added.

Bonita Zimmer, transit program coordinator, said the situation involving drivers waiting usually occurs on medical appointments.

“It doesn’t happen that often,” she said. “Another thing we can look at is a waiting fee.”

In the end, the board approved raising the out-of-county rates to $12, with Roper casting the dissenting vote.

In another topic, Warmka announced he has received two resignations: Alice Moon of Kiester from the county Economic Development Authority board, and John Eilertson of Kiester from the zoning board. He said Sharon Grunzke of Minnesota Lake will replace Moon.

In other business, the board approved:

o Roper and Groskreutz attending a meeting among law enforcement, the city of Blue Earth and the local Humane Society regarding animal control problems. Roper said animals are picked up all over the county and held in Blue Earth.

o Ripley’s resignation, effective June 21. She is retiring.