Para-transit Services in Iowa City
Iowa City City Council Reaffirms its Commitment to Para-transit Services
Discussions with Johnson County and Coralville continue regarding funding for services
In recent weeks, the public discussion regarding the contract renewal for para-transit services has fostered some community concern and misunderstanding. At their February 5 work session, the Iowa City City Council heard a presentation from City staff that attempted to clarify the decisions facing Iowa City, Coralville, and Johnson County. A link to the presentation is available below.
The City of Iowa City is fully committed to providing para-transit services to the community as mandated by our receipt of Federal Transit Authority operating assistance for fixed route bus services. Because of this federal funding, residents who utilize para-transit services will be able to continue to access those services without interruption.
The ongoing discussions regarding para-transit service revolve solely around the funding that currently supports those services. As Iowa City and our governmental partners work out the funding details, we want to reassure the users and the community that para-transit services will be maintained.
To resolve the questions surrounding the funding sources, Iowa City has designated a three-person subcommittee consisting of current City Councilors. They will meet with elected officials from Coralville and Johnson County to discuss how para-transit services will be funded as we move forward. Central to these discussions is the issue of having each community fund their equitable portion for the services provided to their residents. Iowa City firmly believes that our residents should pay an equitable share of costs for these critically important para-transit services. However, we also understand that our residents pay taxes to both Iowa City and Johnson County and further believe that equitable funding shares should include the source of tax dollars regardless of the governmental entity that collects them.
Johnson County has firmly indicated that they intend to phase out funding of para-transit services. In doing so, the property tax dollars that are collected by Johnson County from Iowa City residents for para-transit services will either be directed to other County managed services or will not be levied in future years. In fiscal year 2012, Johnson County levied approximately $426,672 from Iowa City residents for para-transit services. As the County phases out their payments, the users of the Iowa City transit system (both fixed route and para-transit services) will bear a significantly greater burden to maintain services. Unless the County reduces its tax levy proportionally to the phased out payments for para-transit service, Iowa City residents will also continue to pay the same amount of taxes despite the County’s decision to discontinue funding.
Iowa City thanks the community for their strong showing of support for para-transit services in recent weeks and wants to continue to reiterate our commitment to para-transit services for our residents. We look forward to working with our partners in Johnson County and Coralville on these important funding issues.
Below is a link to the presentation that staff provided to the City Council at their February 5, 2013 work session. Any questions regarding this information can be directed to Chris O’Brien, Transportation Services Director, at email@example.com.
For further information, see the Frequently Asked Questions document linked at the bottom of this page.