The Texoma Area Paratransit System (TAPS), a non-profit public transportation system, has cut all but emergency on-demand services to the city of McKinney after company finances were called into question over the past few months. The cancellation of services to the city virtually eliminated public transportation in the area.
Medicaid Contract Cancellation
Recently, the state cancelled TAPS multimillion-dollar Medicaid contract and began investigating the agency for fraud. The contract was issued to TAPS in July 2014, allowing the company to offer non-emergency medical trips to Medicaid recipients. The state felt this would be the start of an on-demand and fixed-route public bus service in the Collin County. TAPS created TAPS Access, which was designed to provide the services covered under the Medicaid contract. However, some state officials have begun to question whether federal money was mishandled. According to state records, TAPS was paid an average of $480,000 per month, based on the number of trips provided. Officials informed TAPS that the contract deficiencies were so severe, they could not be corrected and immediately cancelled the contract with the transportation company. TAPS then laid off 58 drivers and call center agents as a result of the contract loss.
Adding to TAPS Financial Problems
The cancellation of the Medicaid contract was the latest in a series of financial blows suffered by TAPS over the past few months. The organization is being investigated for overspending and mismanagement, prompting the resignation of Executive Director, Brad Underwood, in September. The company owes $1 million in unpaid payroll taxes to the Internal Revenue Service, which prompted the federal government to cancel several contracts with the organization. Half of the 144 vehicles owned by TAPS are unable to be used as they cannot afford to repair or maintain them. In the most recent pay period, employees only received half their pay as the agency could not afford to pay them for all the hours they worked. This is in stark contrast to last year when Underwood stated that the Medicaid contract would make TAPS the largest public transportation agency in Texas.
Possible Criminal Charges
The Texas Department of Transportation froze funding to the transportation company pending an investigation of Underwood for possible criminal misconduct. TAPS has made no comment about the financial issues or the possible criminal charges, citing the ongoing investigation. Officials say that they have discovered a pattern of mismanagement and that they believed that Underwood and others had intentionally mislead the board for a long time. At one point, TAPS officials claimed they had $3 million in grant money for services they were providing in McKinney, counting on federal funds they never received. However, the board was never informed that TAPS had never received the grant money nor were any services or other spending cut. This led the company to incur more than $4 million in debt.
Initially, First Transit presented a reduced service plan, but that was before the major announcement regarding the major reduction in funding. McKinney City Council was supposed to vote on funding for the four fixed routes but will now discuss the matter at a special meeting at 5:30 PM on Monday, November 16, 2015 at City Hall. AAA Air is a proud member of the McKinney community. If you are considering replacement of your HVAC system, contact us today to see how we can help. We can provide an overview of your system and recommend steps that will keep your system operating smoothly both in the winter and the summer. Give us a call or visit us online to learn how we can keep your HVAC system running efficiently.
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