Published: Friday, December 22, 2006
Pact renewal freezes wages
The executive director said the WRTA has reached some 'difficult times.'
By SARAH POULTON
YOUNGSTOWN Western Reserve Transit Authority's executive director and seven union members accepted a one-year renewal contract without pay increases because of a budget deficit.
James J. Ferraro, executive director, said at an authority board meeting Thursday that he and members of International Aerospace Machinist Local 1019 understand that state funding and grants they were allocated in the past are not available at this time. It's better to cut costs through wages than to cut costs by eliminating services, he said.
"We've reached some difficult times," Ferraro said. "We have to hold the line."
Ferraro said that unfortunately, WRTA has to tighten its budget again. He said he is concerned with controlling spending without losing quality or quantity of service.
Ferraro said that WRTA works hard every day to ensure quality service and was excited to announce that the purchase of the Salvation Army land adjacent to WRTA on Mahoning Avenue went through after five years.
Marianne Vaughn, secretary and treasurer, said this purchase has been on the agenda since December 2001.
The plan was approved last week, and WRTA was notified Dec. 14. She said there are no building plans as of now.
However, Ferraro said: "We have some plans in the future for this property. It should help to strengthen WRTA in the community."
The WRTA board also passed a resolution that will allow Ferraro to solicit proposals for a consultant to develop a coordinated public transit human resources transportation plan with Niles and Mercer, Pa. The three areas will receive operating funding to provide reliable transportation for low-income people to travel to and from work, Vaughn said.
She said in order to receive this funding, a transit authority must have a transportation plan for people with low income, the elderly or people with disabilities. The consultant will meet with public and private transportation providers, riders and public human services agencies to determine what services will be necessary in which areas, she said.