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Press Releases

Posted on: December 15, 2016


(Paterson, NJ) – At the December 13th meeting of the Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders, a memorandum of agreement with the Township of West Milford that will maintain paratransit services for senior citizens and disabled residents in the Township was approved. Earlier this year, Township officials were informed by NJ Transit that because of updated census data, West Milford was no longer eligible for the Federal Transportation Administration’s 5311 program for rural communities which provided $110,000 to operate paratransit services in the Township. The FTA program was the primary funding source used by the Township to fund its paratransit services, which provide free rides to non-emergency doctor appointments, shopping centers, community events, and County run nutrition and daycare sites for senior citizens and disabled residents. After hearing of the loss of grant funding and potential loss of services for West Milford senior citizens and disabled persons, County and Township officials began working together to ensure there was no lapse in service in 2017.

“Ensuring senior citizens and disabled persons are able to get to doctor appointments and other activities is vital,” stated Passaic County Freeholder and Human Services Committee Chairwoman Sandi Lazzara. “Especially in a rural area like West Milford, seniors and disabled peoples can be isolated. Once the County was informed West Milford might lose the funding, the Freeholders worked in partnership with local leaders to ensure that funding was in place to ensure paratransit services will continue in West Milford.”

Under the terms of the Agreement, the County will be providing a ten thousand dollar ($10,000) earmark of funding, two paratransit buses, two full time bus drivers, access to the software used to schedule appointments, three tablets to schedule the drivers and appointments, and all major repairs to buses being used. The Township will be responsible to designate one employee to coordinate services for senior and disabled person in the Township, fuel costs, and all minor maintenance to the vehicles.

“Without Passaic County’s intervention, these vital paratransit services would be lost in West Milford,” stated West Milford Mayor Bettina Bieri. “I want to thank the Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders for stepping up without hesitation after learning that paratransit services were in jeopardy in West Milford. This funding and other allocation of employees and resources by the Passaic County Freeholders ensures West Milford senior citizens and disabled persons have access to these vital transportation services in 2017.”

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