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Dowagiac City Council, Cass County Transit Authority renew Transit Operating Agreement

DOWAGIAC — The Dowagiac City Council moved to approve a series of resolutions involving the Cass County Transportation Authority during Monday’s city council meeting.

The council passed a resolution to authorize the continuation of a Transit Operating Agreement with the Cass County Transportation Authority.

In 2014, the city of Dowagiac entered into a three-year Transit Operating Agreement between the Cass County Transportation Authority and the city for the provision of day-to-day transit operations. Under the terms of the agreement between the city of Dowagiac and the Cass County Transportation Authority, vehicle maintenance and related policies are provided by CCTA personnel.

“The city was a very early participant in Dial-A-Ride services in our communities,” said City Manager Kevin Anderson. “It’s been an important service brought to the community. It’s well-supported and becomes a critical asset because of factors including age, shopping and socializing. We’ve had a strong commitment to it over the years, and we started looking at ways to combine services to the county.”

Anderson said the city and CCTA began their partnership years ago by contracting dispatch services through the county.

“That helped county and the city get through difficult times financially,” Anderson said. “Things are working pretty well right now, and we hope that continues. We will continue to evaluate if it makes sense to do more things in the future.

Specific terms of the agreement are summarized as follows:

  • City shall set forth bus routes, fare costs, schedules, total hours of operation and prepare budgets and reports necessary to retain State and Federal grant funding.
  • CCTA shall collect fares from Dial-A-Ride passengers and provide accounting of same to the city.
  • CCTA shall provide to the city all reports necessary to retain state and federal funding.

The TOA includes a resolution to authorize the continuation of a lease of the DART busses with Cass County Transportation Authority and to authorize a Vehicle Maintenance Plan for DART vehicles that complies with MDOT requirements for public transportation.

Per the agreement, the city agrees to lease three buses — for the amount of $1 — to the CCTA for the period of time beginning Oct. 1 of this year and ending Sept. 30, 2022.

Terms of the lease are summarized as follows:

  • CCTA is responsible for the maintenance of the DART buses in compliance with the City’s approved vehicle maintenance plan.
  • Repairs in excess of $1,500, not covered by insurance, are the responsibility of the city.
  • CCTA shall provide comprehensive general liability insurance and motor vehicle liability insurance.

The new Vehicle Maintenance Plan was required to reflect the following:

  • To change the Oil Change Schedule, which now requires oil changes only when the dash light comes on.
  • To correct the plan to indicate gasoline engines instead of diesel engines.

MDOT has already approved the Dowagiac DART Vehicle Maintenance Plan but still requires approval by city council.

The city council also reached an agreement regarding 2021 Trick or Treat Halloween night activities. Upon recommendation from the Dowagiac Police Department. City council motioned that trick or treat activities will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 31, which is consistent with previous years.

In other news, in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, city council unanimously approved Cora Lamping Center’s request to place purple ribbons on lamp posts in downtown Dowagiac during the month of October.

Ribbons will be placed on lamp posts on S. Front St. from Division St. to Commercial St. Pinwheels will be placed in any planters on that same stretch.

“The color purple is a symbol of peace, courage, survival, honor and dedication to ending violence,” wrote CLC Clerical Support Specialist Loretta Hillock in a letter to city council. “It is a salute to survivors and those we have lost to domestic violence. We believe that this is a small effort that will make a large impact as well as showing solidarity in the community while raising awareness on domestic violence.”

Based out of Benton Harbor, the Cora Lamping Center provides a secure, violence-free environment for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault along with their dependent children.

Survivors are offered a protective, warm and violence-free place to stay, listening ears, support groups and other resources needed to develop safe and healthy lives for themselves and their children.

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