Silver Key clears CAC hurdle; on to council

       After some hard words about Silver Key Senior Services at last month's Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (RTA) meeting, the RTA Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) is ready to “push forward” with the nonprofit agency's Westside-based transportation program for the elderly.
       CAC Chair Tom Harold made this comment at the RTA meeting Feb. 8, praising Silver Key CEO John Morse for giving a “great presentation” at last week's CAC meeting about its program, which provides about 80,000 on-demand trips a year for the elderly. Harold also said that, although the committee still has “a few questions,” its members do not plan to press its previous legal/philosophical point that such a program falls outside the scope of the RTA sales tax approved by voters in 2004.
       The RTA board, which had voted in December to give Silver Key a total of $400,000 this year to help with its roughly $1 million transportation costs, did not require the committee's approval to pass the issue along to Colorado Springs City Council at its meeting Tuesday, Feb. 14. But Board Chair Wayne Williams expressed pleasure that there is no longer contentiousness.
       “Like chocolate and peanut butter, the citizens committee and Silver Key finally got together,” he quipped.
       Morse said afterward he was happy about the situation as well, and he expressed confidence that City Council - which has two members on the RTA board - will follow the RTA lead. The city has been giving Silver Key $138,000 annually to provide its transportation services within city limits, and this has also been tentatively approved for 2006.
       Silver Key has been serving unincorporated pockets within city limits since January, he told the board, and plans to pick up Gleneagle, Black Forest and Woodmoor March 1. Together with an expanded effort by the Fountain Valley Senior Center, bus-reliant seniors in El Paso County will have a larger geographical range now, Morse explained.
       Regarding the accounting problems which the RTA and the city have asked Silver Key to rectify, Morse explained that these stemmed mainly from an audit last year that demanded more detailed trip information than the agency had previously been required to record. Silver Key officials have been working up a new system in response to the enhanced requirements and he predicted that the city will be satisfied with it.

Westside Pioneer article