Lake County Council considers doing away with RBA for good
By Carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent September 11, 2012 2:14PM
Updated: October 14, 2012 1:33PM
If the financially beleaguered Lake County Regional Bus Authority does not establish a new funding source in the next month it is likely the agency will be abolished for good.
On Tuesday the Lake County Council unanimously approved the first reading of an ordinance that repeals and rescinds the ordinance creating the Lake County Regional Transportation Authority and the ordinance renaming the entity to the Lake County Regional Bus Authority.
Concerns about the finality of the move prompted officials to postpone a second reading until next month.
“ … As you know, the RBA has no funding yet they continue to pay a director that now has no duties,” said councilwoman Christine Cid, D-East Chicago. She said it makes no sense to pay for a salary, rent and utility for an agency that is nonoperational due to lack of funding.
The RBA ceased regular operations June 30. It has since laid off staff and is selling its buses.
Councilman Rick Niemeyer, R-Lowell, who is one of the council’s representatives on the RBA board, said board decided to keep director Tim Brown through September so he is able to finish some of the remaining business such as paying bills and administering any grant money the authority has yet to receive.
Niemeyer said he would like officials to consider what the long-term ramifications of rescinding the ordinances may be before officials take final action.
“Once you abolish it, you can’t bring it back,” confirmed Raymond Szarmach, council attorney.
Szarmach said while the council has the power to form an authority or abolish one it has already formed, the action abolishing the authority appears to be final. He told council members he would like more time to look at the statute and see if there are ways to revive the RBA in the future if officials choose to do so.