Weirton City Council has thrown a lifeline to Weirton Transit in an effort to keep the public transit service operating for the remainder of its fiscal year.
As part of a special meeting held Thursday afternoon, council approved a resolution authorizing an allotment of up to $50,000 “to address unanticipated revenue shortfalls” experienced in the 2022-2023 fiscal year. Councilmembers Chris Jonczak and Terry Weigel voted against both measures.
Council then returned into executive session for an hour, inviting Mike Paprocki, executive director of the Brooke-Hancock-Jefferson Metropolitan Planning Commission, to participate.
“Council discussed different options to try to save Weirton Transit and keep moving forward,” City Attorney Vince Gurrera explained.
Weirton Transit’s Board of Trustees have been faced with the possibility of having to shut the service down for the month of June, as a result of funding shortages following the payment of approximately $125,000 in back taxes, fees and penalties.
Following Thursday’s meeting, Councilwoman Flora Perrone noted, although she does serve on the WTC board, she sponsored the initial resolution, and voted for it, after consulting with Gurrera about any potential conflicts.
Earlier in the meeting, City Clerk Kim Long read a letter from Councilman Fred Marsh, resigning as a relief driver for Weirton Transit. The letter stated he was doing so to ensure WTC’s regular drivers were able to work in the event of any route cuts.
The resignation was made effective Wednesday.
While no details of a plan were offered Thursday, WTC Manager Phil Gilcrest, during a special WTC Board meeting Monday night, suggested the possibility of reducing the number of routes, saying he would need approximately $35,000 to operate one regular route in the mornings and afternoons, two morning demand routes and one afternoon demand route, and one demand route on Saturdays.
Representatives of Steel Valley Regional Transit Authority also have offered temporary assistance, although details of what that would entail also haven’t been made public.
Perrone said city officials will continue to look at all options in order to keep WTC viable for the future.
“The City of Weirton is committed to keeping the buses rolling,” Perrone said.
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