New Canaan helps transportation service cut costs
NEW CANAAN — A new partnership has formed between the town and a transportation service in the area as a cost-saving measure.
The Board of Finance unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding between the town and Getabout, Inc. at their meeting Tuesday night. Getabout is a service that provides transportation within New Canaan for medical appointments, shopping and other errands for seniors as well as anyone who has special needs.
The new arrangement will see Getabout transfer ownership of its vehicles and out-source the dispatch and driving functions to the town. A special appropriation of $120,000 was approved to fund the new cooperative arrangement from Jan. 1 to June 30, 2019.
“Looking at their full budget we realized the cost they’re paying for their insurance is way beyond what the town would pay for its insurance,” said Sandra Dennies, CFO of the Finance Department.
Getabout pays well over $40,000 to insure its vehicles. Dennies said the town could insure the vehicles for $25,000. In order to be insured, however, the vehicles will have to become town vehicles.
“In order to have those vehicles insured by (Connecticut Interlocal Risk Management Agency), we also have to have those drivers become town employees,” Dennies said, referring to the town’s insurance provider.
The drivers would be part-time town employees with no benefits involved. Despite this, the relationship would not negatively impact the town, Dennies said. Getabout will reimburse New Canaan for all costs — wages, payroll taxes, insurance, etc. — of the arrangement, she said.
“They will continue to support the service, but we will definitely cut their costs,” Dennies said.
If an incident occurred, the town would represent them, but Getabout will have to reimburse any costs. Board members questioned if their were risks involved, but Dennies said a clause in the arrangement allows the town to dissolve it if Getabout does not reimburse the town.
“They’re going to guarantee they pay every cent we put out,” she said. “If they stop doing it, we stop doing it.”
First Selectman Kevin Moynihan said there currently isn’t public transportation in New Canaan. Since 198,1 Getabout has provided the services as a nonprofit. Without their service, the town would be obligated to provide transportation for seniors.
“The overall savings would end up being $60,000 to their budget,” Moynihan said.
If the service wanted to expand, the town would not have to purchase new vehicles, he added. In regards to their income, which is largely contribution based, Moynihan said there shouldn’t be a concern.
“They didn’t have a $300,000 reserve six years ago,” he said. “They’re in much better financial condition (now).”