Council to take closer look at bus deal

November 19, 2012 10:21:32 AM

Jeff Clark - [email protected]


Discussions between an Indiana bus company and the Columbus City Council are expected to continue Tuesday night. The city has been in talks with Lawrence Transit of Lawrence, Ind. since September when it gave the company approval to bring three buses to the city. The bus company's owner, Cliff Redden, and city officials discussed the plans during a conference call earlier this month. 


At the time, it was still unclear as to what the city's commitment to the company would be and what liabilities, if any, the city would incur. City Attorney Jeff Turnage, who has stated the bus service will function as an independent business, was not available for comment Monday morning. 


In August, Travis Jones, the city's director of federal programs, presented the idea to the city council. Jones said Redden was interested in bringing some buses to Columbus at no cost to the city, but the city would need to provide some in-kind services, such as signs and pick-up points. In September, the council voted unanimously to allow Redden to bring three buses to the city, with more buses expected to arrive after contracts are signed.  


Also on Tuesday, the council will discuss a proposed redevelopment authority. The redevelopment authority is a long-time project of City Planner Christina Berry, who has said having a redevelopment authority with board members who are familiar with economic development would boost the local economy.  


"It works like a private arm of the city," Berry said. "You would have people on the board who are experts in that field centered around one central goal. You can get projects really pushed along faster." 


The city council meets Tuesday at 5 p.m. at the Municipal Complex.