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Trailblazer works out new joint powers pact

The three entities who comprise Trailblazer Transit came to a consensus Thursday morning on a new joint powers agreement.
That agreement will now go on to the governing boards of three entities — McLeod County, Sibley County and Wright County Area Transportation (WCAT) — for approval. If all three approve the agreement, it will go into effect Jan. 1, 2018.
The primary two issues the Trailblazer Joint Powers Board came to agreement on Thursday morning were the membership of the board and the split of local share costs.
The board agreed to have two representatives on the Joint Powers Board from each of the three entities. In WCAT’s case, that may include one non-elected official, such as a city administrator.
The board spent a great deal of time discussing how the local share of cost — the expenses not covered by federal or state dollars or revenue — would be split among the three partners.
The joint powers agreement, drafted by attorney Frank Madden, proposed an equal split among the three partners, meaning each would contribute a third of the cost.
The board members, however, said they had expected a share split based on ridership.
“I thought we were going to that ridership piece,” commented Joe Nagel, a McLeod County commissioner. Nagel said the understanding was that ridership would be reviewed annually, and the local share costs would then be determined.
Madden said that the equal split proposal was a temporary measure until Trailblazer came up with baseline of ridership to determine the share.
“The issue is, what do we do in the interim?” said Madden.

For more from the meeting, see the June 28 print edition of The Chronicle.