November 21, 2012 10:44:27 AM
An independent transportation company will be allowed to operate a bus line in Columbus. After months of negotiations, a contract between Lawrence Transit of Lawrence, Ind., and the City of Columbus was unanimously approved during Tuesday's city council meeting.
"This agreement came about with quite a bit of back and forth between (Lawrence Transit owner) Cliff Redden and the city," City Attorney Jeff Turnage said. "He had a number of issues but we've worked out this agreement."
Turnage said Redden will start with two small buses and two larger buses. The buses are currently being stored at Waters Truck and Tractor, which will provide the maintenance for the buses. The bus routes and bus stops have not been determined.
When the idea was originally presented to the city in August by Travis Jones, the city's federal programs director, it was stressed that the bus line would come to Columbus at no cost to the city. Turnage told the council members this was still the case.
"We have agreed to help them get three grants a year," Turnage said. "Any grant requiring a match will be paid for by Lawrence Transit. This is not atypical of what we would do to get any industry here. The city has no liability for this. (Lawrence Transit) has to have (its) own insurance with $1 million in liability. They have to comply with the contract and abide by all of the rules or we can terminate the contract."
The contract is for 12 months. Turnage said he expected the company to being operations immediately.
Also on Tuesday, the council voted to allow city planner Christina Berry to hire a consultant from Arnette Muldrow in Greenville, S.C., to help with a proposed redevelopment authority.
According to Berry, the cost for the consultant will be approximately $14,000 to $15,000.
Also, the council accepted the resignation of police officers Robert Walker and Michael Harlow.
1. Ex-office manager arrested for embezzlement COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY