Johnson County SEATS program future uncertain - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Johnson County SEATS program future uncertain

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

Casey Hayse of Iowa City refuses to let cerebral palsy slow her down.

"Johnson County SEATS has been a part of my life," Hayse said.

For 17 years, Hayse has relied on the SEATS program to get around.

She receives door-to-door service to work, grocery store and her weekly doctor visits.

"She chose to live in Iowa City because she can see the advantage here," said Mardee Wood, a medical attendant who helps with Hayse's care. "I think Iowa City is known for their services."

Hayse and the many others who ride the SEATS program say the system is well-coordinated.

Staff understand their needs and help them to get out into the community and live their lives.

The program has grown by 40 percent over the past five years.

The county currently subsidizes Iowa City's and Coralville's costs, but can no longer afford to do so given the recent growth.

"There's a lot more people with disabilities and a lot more seniors living in Johnson County than there used to be, and those folks are really using the service," said Johnson County Supervisor Rod Sullivan.

The county has offered the two cities a three-year contract that would phase out the subsidies over that time frame.

City officials continue to explore their options. The current contract expires June 30.

Iowa City and Coralville are required by law to provide some sort of transportation for the elderly and disabled, but current users fear something new would fall short in meeting their needs.

"I think many people would quit using the transit and just stay home," Hayse said.

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