Transit subsidy increase approved
The city provides a subsidy for the taxi system every year. State and federal funding covers the majority of the expenses, but a decrease in aid has caused problems for the transit system's budget. A dip in ridership also took transit officials by surprise, but that decrease is expected to be only temporary, with ridership to rebound in the future.
"We had about a $5,000 decrease because of the dip in ridership, and about another $5,000 decrease because of the drop in the state subsidy," stated Mike Hankins, chairman of the Transit Commission. "We had a number of meetings with Dick Koeppen and Lisa Kuss and we came up with ways to save about $5,000, which covers the drop in ridership, but it still leaves the $5,000 drop from the state.
"Overall, if we had in the past received a 90 percent subsidy from the state and federal government and now we get about 86 percent from them, it's still a heck of a good deal for Clintonville, which doesn't have alternative options like mass transit buses," Hankins continued. "Our transit system is the primary way for many seniors or disabled persons in the city to get around-it's very important for our city. When it comes to funding, the city pays a small percent; users pay a small percent, and state and federal funding pay for the vast majority of the cost. It's a win-win for the city."
Alderperson Joe Lamia asked if it would be possible for a private business or investor to come in and help pay for the shortfall on a one-time basis in exchange for a cut of the profits made by the transit system. Hankins explained that the transit system is designed only to break even. He also noted that the city is lucky to have Dick Koeppen and his business, Koeppen's Medical Transports, help operate the service.
"There are some economies of scale he can provide because he has a related business," Hankins said. "For instance, the city pays a dispatcher for about two hours of work every day, but they are there all day long because they are also working for Koeppen's Medical Transports. If the city's transit system were completely separate, we'd have to pay a dispatcher for all-day operations.
"Dick has run a quality operation-the vehicles are cleaned daily, and the entire operation is very dependable. Dick does this for a flat rate-he doesn't get more money if ridership increases. The state very closely controls what money is spent where. It's all vigorously inspected by the state. Dick only gets a flat amount, and we're fortunate that he's chosen to continue to do it for us."
Hankins said he doesn't expect state and federal funding to increase any time soon, but said that ridership is cyclical in nature and is expected to rebound.
Currently, taxi rates are as follows: Seniors over age 60-$2.50 one way; disabled persons with a card-$2.50 one way; regular fare-$4.50 one way; kids with an adult-$2 one way for the first child, $1.25 one way for the second child, and $0.75 one way for additional children. Travel rates outside the city are set at $1.50 per mile.
The council voted 9-0 in favor of approving the $14,948 subsidy amount.
A public hearing has been scheduled for 5 p.m. Nov. 14 at City Hall to discuss a possible 25-cent rate increase.
A thank-you letter from the Clintonville girls swim team to Park and Rec Director Dick Writt was read at the council meeting. The team thanked Writt for allowing them to use the outdoor pool from Aug. 15-30. The swimmers appreciated the gesture and thanked him for making it possible.
The council unanimously approved declaring the 2008 squad car and related equipment as surplus, and will be sold. Two 1966 FWD plow trucks, a sweeper, and a tub grinder were also declared surplus and will be sold.
The council also approved Resolution 2011-13, and ongoing approval for the sale of impound property.
The council also voted unanimously in favor of accepting two lots of parking space donated by United Veterinary Service to the City of Clintonville. The lots are adjacent to the Community Center and will expand city-owned parking space.
A memo from City Administrator Lisa Kuss explained that when the shopping center became filled many of the employees at those businesses began parking and filling the lot by the Community Center. That began a discussion on the parking lot painted lines. A large part of that lot is owned by the veterinary clinic. After looking at how to handle the shortage of parking at the community center when the adjacent lot is filled with employees it was discussed that the vet clinic would be interested in a possible donation of parking lot area to the city.
Ordinance 1070-Concealed Weapons in Municipal Buildings-passed it's second reading and is now an official city ordinance.
The 2012 budget for the Northern Waupaca County Joint Municipal Court was approved, contingent upon $0 in subsidies from the City of Clintonville, with a recommendation for the other municipalities to do the same. The motion passed 9-0.
Mayor Judith I. Magee asked the council to approve appointing Lynne Simpson to the Library Board, since Cathy Belliveau has resigned after 23 years of service. The council voted 9-0 in favor of the appointment. Additionally, the council voted 9-0 in favor of placing Sandy Yaeger and Lisa Kuss on the Waupaca County Economic Development Corporation Tourism Committee.
The next regularly scheduled council meeting is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8, at City Hall.
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