Mark DeLap
Posted 3/29/23

New transportation for Platte County Seniors

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PLATTE COUNTY – Much needed transportion was purchased for both the Services for Seniors groups in Guernsey and in Wheatland with the help of dollars that came as a result of Platte County Voters approving the mill levy again in the last election.

For a bit of background, the Senior District Board oversees the 2-mill levy which is appropriated to the special senior district from Platte County property taxes. There are several districts that receive appropriation from the property tax paid by our Platte County residents.  For example, if your property tax bill is, say, $1,000, the appropriation for the Senior District would be $25.00.  

“We are thankful for our voters who overwhelmingly voted to maintain the special senior district levy at our last election,” Carolyn Teter, executive director of Services for Seniors said. “How is that important?  Well, approximately 48% of our budget is provided by the levy.  Without it, we would not be able to operate. Yes, we have federal and state grants, which do not nearly cover the cost of providing the services the grants cover.”


The Senior District Board mill levy funds provide the required match for state and federal funds and subsidize what grants do not cover.  It takes 8 grants and the levy to maintain Services for Seniors.  To provide the services they do, vehicles are necessary, as the organization runs a public transit demand service in Guernsey and Wheatland and they do in-home services countywide, and we deliver groceries to 3 other meal sites in Platte County. Equipment needs maintenance, and sometimes replacement.  Facilities need upkeep, and kitchen equipment is required to maintain proper temps for safe food preparation.  

“Our Senior District Board just in the last month was able to purchase for Guernsey a replacement bus, as their current one was costing more in maintenance than was practical,” Teter said. “ A van was also purchased for Guernsey specifically designed for those with wheel chairs and riders with disabilities that made getting into a bus difficult.”  

A van was purchased to deliver the Meals on Wheels daily meals to those unable to attend the congregate meal center. The Board also purchased a used bus for Wheatland than is newer than the current one, which was also beginning to cost more than what is practical.  Wheatland has a new bus on order from the Department of Transportation, but it has been on order for over 2 years and due to inability to get certain parts for their manufacture, orders have been delayed.  

“It appears we might be getting the bus yet this year,” Teter said. “Wheatland’s demand for public transit service has nearly maxed the use of just one bus.  The current one purchased by the District Board will become a backup. With the current inflation affecting us with increased cost of food, fuel, utilities, and all other costs, we even more appreciate the support we have from our community.  Our services are available for seniors over 60.  The congregate meals are available, with only a suggested contribution of $4.00.  Our In-Home Services are provided on a sliding scale, and arrangements made for low-income clients.  One in every three in Platte County is over 60, so our demand for services is growing as our population is aging.” 

“Proofs of the wisdom of Platte County voters, are being used to provide valuable services in Guernsey and Wheatland,” said Rose Martinez, president of the Platte County Senior Citizens Service District Board. “Voters chose to continue the Platte County Senior Citizens Services District mill levy in November which has been in place for over 20 years to provide support to the services provided to seniors by Services for Seniors.”  

In June the Senior District Board, which manages the funds, with the help of their secretary, Merlin Hitt, purchased a meal delivery van to replace a van with over 200,000 miles in Guernsey.  The new van was purchased from Bob Ruwart Motors for $42K.  Several years ago, the District Board purchased the meal delivery truck used in Wheatland.”

At least three years ago, Services for Seniors was approved for a grant from the Wyoming Department of Transportation to purchase a new handicapped-accessible bus. Each year DOT reviews use and repairs of transportation vehicles.  They decide if buses need to be replaced and offers grants to buy new ones.  

“Due to covid, no new buses were available because manufacturers were not making bus chassis,” Martinez said. “The buses used to provide public transportation in Wheatland and Guernsey were increasingly in need of repairs due to age and high mileage.  The Senior District Board offered to help in the search for vehicles along with local dealers.  The District Board is not bound by the restriction of only purchasing new vehicles that DOT is.  They opened the search to low mileage used vehicles.”  

Frontier Access and Mobility in Cheyenne received two buses and a van that could transport handicapped patrons. Ken Pasley, PCSCSDB vice president and Paul Holloway, bus driver for Services for Seniors, went to Cheyenne to decide if any of the vehicles would fill the needs of the county.  The Board held a special meeting in August to approve the purchase of two buses and a van, all of which could transport riders who are wheelchair bound.  The total cost was $118,000 for all three vehicles.

“The transportation services provided by the Senior Centers is for public use for a small fee,” Martinez said. “Services for Seniors chose to use one bus in Wheatland.  The bus provides public transportation around Wheatland, weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and runs continually on these days and times.  The second bus and the van are being used in Guernsey.  The van has been DOT approved to be used for passenger transportation.  It has been very cost effective as Guernsey seldom needs to transport more than 2-3 people on in town errands at a time.  The bus is used for larger group needs and out of town transportation.  To make an appoint for rides call 307-322-3424 (Wheatland) or 307-836-2777 (Guernsey).”

The mill levy is funded by Platte County property taxes.  Over the past few years, the Senior District Board has received enough tax dollars to provide nearly half the budget for Services for Seniors to provide nutrition and health/home care in Wheatland, Glendo, Guernsey and Chugwater, as well as transportation services in Wheatland and Guernsey. The District Board has also been able to keep enough savings to provide for unexpected needs at the centers, such as replacing kitchen appliances when needed at the centers.