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DART governance plan could have overtones for other regional issues

Tuesday, May 16, 2017


By Kent Darr | Senior Staff Writer, Business Record 
A task force studying the governance structure of the Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority unveiled its recommendations on May 3 and might have established a template for addressing other regional issues that have confounded community leaders for decades.

That is the viewpoint of West Des Moines Mayor Steve Gaer, who has chafed at the bit in the past over issues that have defied regional solutions, and Scott Raecker, director of the Robert D. and Billie Ray Center at Drake University.

Gaer chaired a task force created earlier this year by the DART governance commission that was directed to find a governing structure for the organization that has faced defections both real and threatened from its member communities as well as calls to extend routes and hours at what could be unmanageable financial expense.

Raecker and Cassandra Halls of 2 the Top worked as facilitators to keep the conversation on point.

The recommendations are significant: establish a governing body with one representative each from the 19 Polk County communities, as well as the board of supervisors, that receive DART service, and, if push comes to shove on decisions regarding budget and services, allow a weighted vote based on population.

DART currently is governed by a nine-member board, with two at-large members appointed by the Polk County Board of Supervisors and seven members appointed from districts that are created by pairing Iowa House of Representatives districts in the county.

To continue reading, you must have a Business Record online publication membership. Continue reading to see the outline of the recommendations here: Full Insider Story.