By Jessica Mathews/

The Livingston Essential Transportation Service or LETS is seeking a budget amendment to carry over unused grant funds to purchase new buses.

The General Government & Health and Human Service Committee of the Livingston County Board of Commissioners met Monday night. It approved a resolution authorizing a grant contract, budget amendment and capital expenditure for the purchase of three low-emissions replacement buses at a cost not to exceed $392,480. The grant is through the Federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality or CMAQ program and is comprised of 80% in federal grant funds with a 20% state match. LETS was previously awarded $287,028 in FY 2019 grant funding for bus replacement, which was included in the budget. However, $148,462 was unspent at year-end so an amendment is required to the 2020 budget to carry it forward and purchase new propane-fueled replacement buses.

LETS Director Greg Kellogg tells WHMI in 2018, LETS was awarded two years of grant funding for fiscal years 2019 and 2020. He says they only spent around $140,000 on replacement vans and the remainder went unspent at year end because they had no other buses eligible for replacement. He says the remaining funds will be carried forward to the current year – noting they don’t lose the grant funding and are able to just carry it into the next year. Kellogg says the budget amendment is needed to be able to spend those funds this year.

The resolution was also before the Finance Committee on Wednesday morning. It was approved and now moves on to the full board, which meets Monday night. Kellogg clarified that these grant funds are not related to additional grant funds LETS is pursuing through the same program for new buses that would be used for a dedicated route along Grand River from Howell to Brighton.