Grant would fund upgrades to Milo Taxi and Delivery

By Stuart Hedstrom 
Staff Writer
MILO — In an effort to help meet the transportation needs of the region’s elderly and disabled populations — such as providing access to health care and picking up food and other basic necessities — a $60,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) is being applied for to help expand Milo Taxi and Delivery.

    The town of Milo is applying for the CDBG on behalf of the business, as residents approved this decision during a special town meeting earlier in the month.
    During a public hearing as part of the grant application process on June 24 at the Milo Town Hall, Piscataquis County Economic Development Council Community Development Director Dr. Ken Woodbury Jr. said the $60,000 would enable Milo Taxi and Delivery to purchase two used 2005 or 2006 Lincoln Town Cars to increase the fleet to six taxis and a 7-passenger handicapped accessible van, construct a service garage, acquire a computer system and improve customer contacts.
    Dr. Woodbury said Milo Taxi and Delivery owner Michael Anderson will be receiving a $28,000 grant from the New Freedom Grant Program toward the purchase of a handicapped accessible van to serve as part of Anderson’s match for the $60,000. He has also requested a $30,000 loan to apply as a match which he will use to build a maintenance garage adjacent to the lot that is the current home of Milo Taxi and Delivery. By having its own garage, the business would have a quicker turnaround for getting vehicles back on the road and serving the area.
    “The rest of the money would be for additional taxis to increase the fleet and for new business software and hardware to provide for employment of one full-time accounting person,” Dr. Woodbury said. The grant would also fund another full-time employee to work as a mechanic in the new Milo Taxi and Delivery garage, and both of this jobs would be filled by low/moderate income individuals per grant requirements and the positions need to filled for a minimum of two years.
    Anderson said that even though the position is not required by the grant, he plans to hire a third employee who will be certified to drive the handicapped accessible van.
    Other grant funds are earmarked for a GPS tracking system in the taxis and van and to develop a website, accessible by Android and iPhone, for customers to make reservations as well as for lettering on all the Milo Taxi and Delivery vehicles. Dr. Woodbury said the website and information on the vehicles are designed “so people in the community are more aware of Milo Taxi and its services.”
     Dr. Woodbury said the grant application is due later in the month and the funding is scheduled to be awarded in August, with the monies being used to make the improvements to Milo Taxi and Delivery over the ensuing few months if the application is successful.
    Anderson thanked both Town Manager David Maynard and the Board of Selectmen for their support of the grant application. “I think it’s going to be a great thing for the town,” he said.

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