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Jackson, Macon work together on transportation

Public transit in Macon County is slated to get a boost as Jackson and Macon counties work out an agreement to share a position between the two of them.

Jackson’s mobility coordinator position — a job that basically entails marketing the transportation system, helping new customers and meeting with collaborating agencies — is funded through a federal grant, but it’s turning out to be hard to fill as a 40-hour-per-week job for Jackson County alone. 

“He [Jackson County Transportation Director Chuck Norris] has found that sometimes it’s difficult to keep her 40 hours a week busy, and I have found that it would be nice to have an extra person on occasion, so we have discussed potentially sharing this position,” Kim Angel, Macon County’s transportation coordinator, told Macon commissioners at their November meeting. 

 The grant supports 90 percent of the $48,000 salary and benefits, with Jackson County kicking in 10 percent. With the two counties splitting the position, each one would pay 5 percent, about $2,400. Jackson County will continue as the position’s employer and manage the grant.

Norris believes that the shared position will also improve the possibility of renewing funding in the future. 

“These funds are now competitive and involve a process to rank and choose which projects will be funded using a scoring method,” he explained. “Coordination and partnerships are high on the list.”

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The counties will work out an interlocal agreement to nail down specifics of how the position-sharing should work, but Macon and Jackson commissioners have unanimously agreed to move forward. Angel said she would be able to absorb the cost into her budget and thus would not be asking for increased funding in the next budget year to compensate. 

“They [Jackson Commissioners] were very supportive of it,” Angel told the Macon board. “Obviously it’s a benefit to them because they are paying the whole cost right now and it’s a benefit to us because we don’t have to add an additional employee, we don’t have to mange the grant.”

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