Feds shipping grant funds to Gloversville transit dept.

GLOVERSVILLE – The city Transit System has been approved for a federal grant that will provide about $295,000 for the department, officials said.

Mobility Manager William Walrath told the Common Council on Tuesday the department has garnered a Jobs-Access and Reverse Commute and New Freedom Operating Assistance grant.

JARC funding is a Federal Transit Administration program designed to pay for people to get to work.

Walrath said the grant will provide $200,000 for operating assistance and $95,048 to pay for the Mobility Manager position for the third and fourth quarters of 2013 and all of 2014.

The grant provides 50 percent of the expense for operating assistance and 80 percent for the position through federal funding, according to meeting documents. The local share for the city will total about $223,762 of the estimated cost.

Both Walrath and Deputy Commissioner of Finance Theresa Butkevitch said this is a continuation of a grant the city received in 2010.

Walrath said Wednesday the grant period was from August 2010 to December 2014; this additional funding covers July 1, 2013 to Dec. 31, 2014.

However, city officials were concerned the Transit System wasn’t going to get the rest of the grant money.

Walrath said there was a miscommunication between DOT and the city because the city was never notified the grant process was moving forward.

“If it wasn’t for Bill’s effort we wouldn’t have gotten this,” Finance Commissioner Bruce Van Genderen said during the meeting.

“This is ‘found money,’ if you will, that wouldn’t have happened if Mr. Walrath wasn’t as aggressive with the folks at DOT,” Mayor Dayton King said in an email. “He is a great advocate for our transit department and our city.”

Walrath said the council still needs to pass resolutions related to the grant before the city will receive the additional federal funding, which he said will be prepared for the next meeting.

Clarification sought

The council previously delayed appointing Walrath to another term as the head of the city’s transit system.

The Labor Attorney Bryan Goldberger, the council and mayor also have walked away from other meetings with no resolution on the issue regarding the residency and reappointment of Walrath.

A city resident in November told officials that Walrath, a Northville resident, is holding a department head position without being a city resident and could be in violation of state and local law.

Goldberger’s legal opinion, presented in a letter to the Common Council, stated Walrath would be able to remain in his position because he lives in Fulton County.

However, the council continues to seek more clarification from Goldberger.

“I have spoken with members of the council about that issue and I would expect some type of resolution in the near future,” Goldberger said Wednesday.