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Fort Macleod Handibus Society seeks funding from Willow Creek MD

LAWRENCE GLEASON, GAZETTE CONTRIBUTOR

Fort Macleod Handibus Society asked the MD of Willow Creek for funding

Fort Macleod Handibus Society asked the MD of Willow Creek for an annual allotment of $5,000.
Willow Creek MD had contributed $5,000 to the society last year and has supported the handibus society in past years.
David Hughes, president of the Fort Macleod Handibus Society, wrote, “In the third quarter of 2018 the handibus society applied for a provincial Communities Initiative Program operating grant. Evidence that we have is that ongoing municipal support is an important criterion for the grant application.”
Hughes added that in 2013 expenses for the handibus society were $69,427. Operating cost in 2017 totalled $85,820.
“This is an increase of 22 per cent over five years,” Hughes wrote.
Reeve Marianne Sandberg recommended a letter be sent to the Fort Macleod Handibus Society, telling them that council would look at the issue at budget time.
“We don’t know until we look at our budget and see where we’re at,” Sandberg said.
Councillors agreed.
The handibus provided 7,639 rides during 2017 with 1,253 of those rides for patrons in wheelchairs.
“The majority of the trips are shopping or medical related,” Hughes wrote.
Sandberg said 99 per cent of the trips are within Fort Macleod.
On Nov. 1 the cost for patrons per ride went up from $3.25 to $3.75.
A month’s pass was $35 for 12 rides and now is for 10 rides.
Frequent users of the handibus can purchase a $125 monthly pass for unlimited trips. Previously the monthly pass was $90.
User fees make up about 20 per cent of the cost of the service, Hughes wrote, adding drivers are the only paid employees while all administrative staff are volunteers.

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