Williamsport City Council members speak on ways to ‘clean up’ River Valley Transit
“Until it unfolds, some questions are not going to be able to be answered.”
That’s what Council President Randall J. Allison said recently about the ongoing investigation into a decade of prior administration grant use at River Valley Transit, 1500 W. Third St.
“Answers to some of those findings will come from investigations and audits,” Allison said.
In March, it was learned that state investigators with Attorney General Josh Shapiro were probing records at the transit arm of the city.
“The state Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and other agencies are not going to give the city an option but rather require the city comes up with solutions and a plan internally to straighten out financial and management oversight at River Valley Transit,” Allison said. “The plain fact of the matter is there are a lot of things to clean up. There has got to be restructuring first,” he said.
That result might be creation of a governing authority or some other governmental entity to provide oversight.
“It will be something we do because we have to and we want to do it,” Allison said.
“Twelve years of not keeping up on protocol and making changes by state and federal guidelines and now we are playing catch up,” Councilwoman Liz Miele, chair of the finance committee, said.
“It is exciting to have an administration interested in making sure we are dotting our i’s and crossing our t’s,” Miele said.
Adam Winder, River Valley Transit general manager, said he and the staff are doing that by working closely with PennDOT and working on a five-year restructuring plan by following guidelines established under Act 44, state transportation law.
“It is part of the process we are going through,” Mayor Derek Slaughter said. “We have to work on getting things straightened out.”
River Valley Transit’s budget is about $8.8 million for 2021-22.
“A five-year plan seems like the next piece, a natural evolution of the budget and what we started talking about in November,” Councilman Adam Yoder said. “The better informed we are to support River Valley Transit and make sure things are going correctly,” Yoder said.
“It brings a whole level of comfort, at least for me.”