“Not a lot of wind in the sails”

Williams City Administrator tells County Transportation Commission he doesn’t see transit split happening

During the Colusa County Transportation Commission meeting last week, commissioner and Williams City Administrator Frank Kennedy was asked about the Williams City Council’s direction to staff to form an ad-hoc committee, which is tasked with exploring a split from the Colusa County Transit Joint Powers Authority and the establishment of their own transit service.

It was County Supervisor Denise Carter, one of three county representatives on the transportation commission, who asked Kennedy for more information. She said that she had first heard about it after reading it in this newspaper.

Kennedy told the commission that while an ad-hoc committee is exploring the city’s options for transit services, he doesn’t see the split happening.

“Well, at one of our city council meetings, one of our city council members had suggested we explore the possibility of, or the opportunity to do our own transit agency,” Kennedy said. “I can tell you that has been met with mixed reaction. It doesn’t have a lot of steam, but we are going to form an ad-hoc committee to look at it…. I would say, at the top of my head, it hasn’t got a lot of strength and wind behind the sails.”

At their September meeting, the Williams City Council agreed by consensus to form an “exploratory” ad-hoc committee, at the request of Councilman Charles Bergson. At the time, Bergson questioned the efficiency and service levels of the County Transit Agency.

When Carter asked Kennedy for more specific information – namely, what the potential revenue stream would be for the city-wide transit service – Kennedy said that no specifics had yet been discussed.

Commissioner and County Supervisor Kim Vann asked staff what the process for dropping out of the Joint Powers Agreement for the County Transit services would entail. Deputy County Counsel Jennifer Sutton said that the current Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) goes through 2021, and that there is a 90-day notice of termination provision.

Vann asked whether the termination provision works both ways – that is, whether the JPA could terminate a member.

“It’s silent as to that,” Sutton said. “But, it’s my understanding, based on the way the JPA is written,  if one member decides to terminate, then I think the entire JPA may need to be restructured.”

Kennedy said that when he had more to add regarding the city’s potential split from the JPA, he would bring that information before the commission.

“I’m not trying to be secretive – it was just an idea floated by one of the city councilmen, and we’re now we’re going to explore it,” Kennedy said. 

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Brian Pearson is the Managing Editor & Reporter for the Williams Pioneer Review. Brian joined the Williams Pioneer Review in June 2016 and is committed to bringing hyperlocal news to its readers. A few of his projects include reporting on local government and the newly feature sports page. To contact Brian about this article, or for future articles, please email him at brian@colusacountynews.net