By Jesse Wood
July 11, 2013. ASU recently transferred $200,000 to AppalCART “a little bit in advance” to help the transit authority fund its retirement program as it works through some billing issues, according to AppalCART Board of Authority Chair Jerry Moretz.
Moretz added that paperwork for its retirement program, which changed last year, had to be completed by June 30.
ASU is the largest revenue contributor to AppalCART, and before each semester, ASU transfers funds, which are derived from student fees, to the transit authority, according to AppalCART Board Vice Chair and ASU Vice Chancellor of Business Affairs Greg Lovins, who added that these funds help AppalCART provide free transportation to college students and the general public.
Lovins said the recent $200,000 transfer will be deducted from the scheduled $600,000 transfer that is to take place sometime before the beginning of the fall semester.
Multiple board members noted that AppalCART has had recent financial problems due to recent complications with state-funded grant reimbursements and an unusually high-turnover rate at the financial director position.
“We’ve gotten behind on requesting reimbursement from the state,” Moretz said. “Once we get caught up, there shouldn’t be any problems as far as money is concerned.”
He added that once Jim Harrison, who did finance work for AppalCART for a “long time,” stepped down at the beginning of the year, the finance director position has been in turmoil.
Moretz said another person took over for Harrison and then left for another job in an adjacent county. Then a woman was almost hired but decided not to come after realizing she would have to pay most of her health benefits, and the next person hired immediately “didn’t work out,” Moretz said, adding that the board is now “developing a job description for a more educated individual” to be hired for the long term.
“Several bad things happened at one time,” Moretz said.
Commissioner David Blust, who is the county’s representative on the AppalCART Board of Authority, said he was the only member who voted against the $200,000 advancement from ASU.
“Some things are going on. I’ve got to get to the bottom of this. They haven’t balanced the checkbook in about six months. A lot of [the financial situation is tied to] grants that haven’t come through,” Blust said. “They haven’t pursued this and pushed this. We’ll get to the bottom of this in the next couple of months.”
AppalCART Transportation Director Chris Turner is out of the office until Monday, according to his voicemail, and couldn’t be reached for comment.