Commissioners approve funding HOP services
Milam County Commissioners voted to contribute funds to continue the HOP services in the county during a meeting on Monday.
In front of a packed courtroom Monday, commissioners voted 3-2 to contribute $75,000 toward funding the HOP Transportation Service through 2024.
Milam County Judge Bill Whitmire and Commissioners Henry Hubnik and James Denman voted in favor with Commissioners Art Neal and Wesley Payne voting against. Payne and Neal both made clear they were not against the HOP in voting no, only that they disagreed with the county funding the entire amount.
Commissioners heard from 10 people who spoke in favor of continuing the services during public comments. Several speakers said the service is used to take those without transportation to life-saving dailysis services in Temple and to get around town.
Commissioners had tabled the topic of HOP services during several meetings as they awaited a response on requests to share financial responsibility for the funding from the cities of Cameron and Rockdale and the Cameron and Rockdale school districts. All four entities declined to participate.
Whitmire said, “I don’t want to be the one that let’s it die off. I realize the cities and the school districts should pony up some funds too, but they are not going to. I don’t want to be the one that sits there and says we aren’t going to do this. We will have to work on some line items to make it happen and get a better game plan for next year.”
The HOP started in 1960 as a volunteer transit service that serves Milam County as part of a nine county service area. The HOP Board asked each of the nine counties they cover to provide funds after they had learned that grant money to cover their operations was ending. Nearly 40 percent of all HOP use comes from Milam County, with the breakdown showing usage in the Cities of Cameron and Rockdale and the Cameron and Rockdale school districts making up the vast majority of that. By voting to provide the funding, HOP services will not end for Milam County users.
There will be two less drivers moving forward, fewer hours, and consolidating rides to minimize the number of trips made.
Commissioners voted to fund the HOP for one year.
In other business commissioners also: accepted a new jury plan for District Court; re-appointeed five people to the Milam County Appraisal District Board of Directors; approved a bid from McGregor Foundation Repair for leveling of the floor at the Minerva Community Center; approved going out for bids for the disposal of old computer and phone equipment; and approved memorandums of agreement with Milam County ISDs for the event of a disaster for use of facilities.