It's not uncommon to see the Cullman Area Rural Transportation System (CARTS) buses traveling around town multiple times a day each week.
But, by this time next year, the blue and white vehicles will be a thing of the past.
During the last Cullman County Commission meeting of the year earlier this week, the commission approved the authorization of 15 new buses through a grant from the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT). CARTS received eight new red and black trolley-like busses through federal stimulus money a year ago, and according to CARTS director Joyce Echols, the soon to be new additions will be identical.
"This will put us in great shape with buses," Echols said. "We will have all current buses, and it will allow us to get all of our old, wore out buses out of the fleet. We currently have 15 that are well beyond their life expectancy."
Echols told the commission ALDOT had already approved the organization for the 80/20 grant,which is made up of 80 percent federal money, and 20 percent local money. County administrator Gary Teichmiller said the total cost of the new vehicles would be roughly $868,000. The local portion would total around $173,000.
"It's a good value," Teichmiller told the commission. "CARTS will have $100,000 in escrow, and they'll be able to pay the rest back in the next few months if we just advance the additional $73,000 I believe it is."
All of the new vehicles are equipped with wheelchair lifts and can accommodate from 15 to 17 passengers.
In other action, the commission:
* ratified the contract for the electrical work on the courthouse.
* authorized the chairman to sign the ATRIP project ACNU58625-ATRP (001) for resurfacing of Co. Rd. 222 from SR 69 to Co. Rd. 109.
* authorized the chairman to sign the ATRIP project ACNU58624-ATRP (001) for resurfacing Co. Rd. 222 from Co. Rd. 310 to Co. Rd. 410.
* approved the extension of the Hanna Family Cemetery located at 409 Co. Rd. 569.
*ratified the following personnel actions:
• Darla West — full time to Revenue.
• Nicole Miller — full time to Juvenile Detention.
• Leah Chambers — part time to full time Juvenile Detention
• Donna Marcella — full time temp to full time permanent with CARTS.
• Steven Nash — part time CARTS.
Brent Hogeland — full time Sheriff’s Department.
Jim Laseter — Revenue-reappraisal.
The next commission meeting will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013 in the commission meeting room.
Ashley Graves can be reached by phone at 734-2131, ext. 225, or by email at email@example.com