Athens City Council heard a presentation Monday about increasing the amount of public transportation in Athens County, which would increase sales tax by .25 percent.

Jessie Schmitzer, the mobility coordinator for Athens County, said this would be a levy between five and 10 years.

Schmitzer said the goal was to have more all-encompassing transportation options in the city and county.

She said this would add bus routes to neighboring towns like Albany and Chelsea as well as increase direct transportation to accommodate people with disabilities.

Residents have been told they couldn’t be picked up because there wasn’t enough room, Schmitzer said.

The increased tax would make the county about $900,000 more, Schmitzer said.

She said a bus would cost around $90,000 and a shuttle with disability accommodations would cost around $35,000.

Councilmember Patrick McGee, I-At Large, said his major concern with increasing transportation was the lack of people using public transportation already.

Schmitzer said there has been a 700 percent increase in riders since 2011.

“I see so many advantages to having this,” Mayor Steve Patterson said.

There are meetings being held at the Athens Public Library at 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on June 17 to discuss this project.

The City and Safety Services Committee presented about different sewer issues. Because of aging infrastructure in the city, there are multiple streets that need new systems.

The first project is an emergency sewer system on Franklin Avenue that would cost $45,000.

The second project, which was described as “the most urgent matter,” is a sinkhole repair on College Street. That would cost $47,000.

The third project is a repair of the sewer on Columbia Avenue. Athens has already received $40,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, but the estimated cost of this project is about $350,000. 

The city is sending a request to FEMA for more funding.

@ianmck9

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