BDD board OKs buying 8 passenger buses for Mountaineer Park jobs

LISBON – Clients of the Columbiana County Board of Developmental Disabilities may be able to obtain jobs at Mountaineer Park after the board approved the purchase of two eight-passenger handicap accessible buses to transport them.

Superintendent Bill Devon told the board Wednesday he recently met with people at Mountaineer Park, where some of the clients had been employed until December 2009. Now the facility seems interested in employing clients about 72 hours per week split up over nine to 12 shifts. Devon said some shifts may be only three to five hours, but there would be at least four clients working there at the same time. Additionally, the clients will work flexible shifts during the daytime and afternoon for now with the possibility of night shifts later.

The employment would be through the Employment First Initiative, which will provide job coaches and the clients will be employees of Mountaineer Park. However, the BDD and Employment First Initiative will provide non-medical transportation to and from work. Devon said it will not be a problem now in the summer when the BDD does not use all of its buses. But come fall the BDD will be able to lease the buses to the Employment First Initiative.

The board approved the purchase of 2014 Ford Eldorado buses at the cost of $49,070 each for a total cost of $98,140.

The board also approved assisting to purchase transportation software through the transportation consortium with other schools in the county – the ESC, Lisbon and Beaver Local. Devon asked the board to approve a cost not to exceed $17,500, noting he is not yet sure how much of the cost will be the BDD’s to cover, but he knows they have the largest territory with buses going throughout the county.

Still Devon predicts the new software will save the district money. He believes the software will show them how to reduce the number of routes by at least two or three, saving the BDD the cost of each driver, aide and bus. Devon estimates each route costs about $120,000.

“If I can sit down with paper and pencil and find two routes then I would hope the computer can find at least that many,” Devon said.

The board also approved a Boy Scout project presented by Lex Uram, who proposes making improvements at EDI-Central including tearing out 26 shrubs around the facility. Devon noted the sheriff’s office has already recommended getting rid of the shrubs, which are good hiding places for those potentially looking to break into the building.

Devon offered for the board to cover the $450 in expenses Uram said he estimates it will cost to do all the improvements he wants to make. Uram is hoping to obtain Eagle Scout status through his volunteer project.