NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – The size of WAVE Transit could be shrinking in New Hanover County.
County commissioners briefly discussed the bus service at their budget work session Thursday afternoon.
The county's recommended budget currently lists WAVE's contribution as more than a $100,000 less than what was requested. WAVE's Executive Director Albert Eby said the full $250,000 is needed to maintain current operations.
Fleet maintenance and liability insurance are two of the reasons for this year's larger request, according to Eby. Without the money, he said routes – like the new one that reaches all the way to Pleasure Island – could be cut.
Commissioners have not made a decision on the money, but Eby said he's confident with what he's heard up to this point.
"Our supporters have really made their voices heard," he said. "I'm encouraged that the community has let the commissioners and county manager know that this is an important service to the community."
The discussion at Thursday's work session centered on the county's plan for WAVE – whether it is to maintain the mandated service for paratransit riders or to continue an expanded general service throughout the county.
Commissioners recently approved $200,000 in loans for WAVE, but Eby explained that the money was to remedy the authority's cash flow problem.
The ongoing debate about this funding has prompted commissioners to consider a second look at the inter-local agreement with the city of Wilmington and WAVE.
The county budget must be approved before the end of the month.
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