|Suzan Kesim for South Bend
(A name given to me by the City Controller since I regularly attend the Council Meetings and 14 Budget Hearings)
Transportation is a vital part of the City and is especially critical for many since we have 29.6% of our population earning under $20,000 a year. This is an area that always needs to be subsidized. I'm not aware of any Class 2 size cities that make money on their transportation. The best that can usually be done it to figure out how to save money and increase services. This is a tall order. But I have suggested a major idea that saved LaPorte millions and perhaps the medical services can come to them instead of trying to move those with mobility challenges.
This area of city government relies heavily on Federal grants and those have been declining. Fuel costs and aging buses are straining the budget. The most expensive area of the TRANSPO budget, Access Transportation, has increasing ridership while the fare is mandated by the Federal government to remain low.
1. ACCESS outreach to riders via phone conference calls held once or twice a month
This is a request from the Michiana Disability and Advocacy Group. They can't physically get to the meetings, so they would like to video conference or anonymously call in. They worry about registering a complaint since the driver would know who complained and do things like handle them roughly or make them late to their doctor appointments.
2. "How's my service?" large signs with a hotline phone number inside all the buses
3. "Good Driver Service Awards" - Monthly, gift certificate, posted on website. Make it so there can be more than one. Maybe five or six drivers every month.
4. Converting Buses to Propane - LaPorte model - Invite them to come speak to the whole Board on how they did it and their numbers. Their Director already has a PowerPoint from when he presented at the Sustainability Conference in 2017. They took the buses like the Access busses South Bend has, had the engines converted to propane in Elkhart and because it is so clean burning, it also has reduced their maintenance. Propane continues to be less than gas.
5. Medical House Call Units - Vision, Hearing, Mammograms, Blood Draws, Doctor & Nurse visits. Library representative could be on it too since the library has a "house call" program. Perhaps Real Services could also have a social worker on these trips. The library and Real Services could come in their own vehicles. Invite representatives from all these organizations to a special meeting to discuss options.
It may be more efficient to have the medical team come to the home bound citizens rather than trying to get them to individual doctors for more routine services. This might save on transportation costs and be nicer for the patients who have mobility issues. Boling Vision has a bus set up for eye exams, South Bend Medical Foundation has a mobile blood unit bus, St. Joseph Medical Center has a mammography bus.
1. Is the Natural Gas they use from Fracking Sources?
2. Will there be an ADA Paratransit Advisory Committee?
3. Why is there no bus service to WorkOne? Unemployed people need to go there.
4. Can they use smaller buses like the Goshen Trolleys? They cost less, are less to maintain, use less fuel and require a lower driver certification.
5. Can the City speed up the Bus Shelter installations and moved them to better ADA Accessible areas?
The Citizen Budget Committee thinks answering these questions will be helpful in planning for a more effective Budget. Thank you for your consideration
The Operating Budget is $10,662,269
There are concerns about uncertain Federal and State Funding and 2019 Budget Caps
They are looking at re-evaluating the fare level
Wages 53%, Benefits 22%, Fuel 7%, Services 5%, Utilities/Insurance 5%, Bus Loans 5%, Other 8%
They expect Labor expenses in 2018 to be $5,801,603, Health & Dental Expenses have gone down since joining with the County/City plans
REVENUE PROJECTION FOR 2018:
Local Funding 32%, State Funding 19%, Federal Funding 17%, Federal Prev. Maintenance 15%, Fares 14%, Lease 2%, Advertising 1%
Farebox $ 1,642,051
Advertising $ 79,497
Lease Rev $ 2,400
Concessessions $ 34,311
Interest Inc $ 13,045
Property Tax $ 2,954,329
License Excise Tax $ 208,548
Option Income Tax $ 547,130
State Assistance $ 2,130,958
Fed Prev Mainten $ 1,440,000
Federal Assistance $ 1,410,000
Lease Payt City $ 200,000
NOTE: They dropped Burkhart Advertising (local company) to go with an out-of-area company for increased revenue
Local Funds 31%
State Funds 23%
Federal Funds 24% (Amount in question)
Fare Revenue 16% (May have to raise)
NEW SERVICES INCLUDE:
"Game Day Express" for ND Home Games that go between campus and downtown 3 hours prior to the game and 2 hours after the game. These are sponsored and will be FREE to the public.
Extending service to the Four Winds Casino
There is a matching grant where the City pays 20% and 80% is done with with matching funds
They had to take a loan from First Source Bank to meet the 20% needed and sell property to developers
There are currently 22 Natural Gas Buses
50% of the Fleet is over 12 years old, 60 total in Fleet
They make 318 trips a day
Looking at $1.2M fund for Paratransit
Hours are Monday - Saturday from 5:50 am to 6:00 pm
Paratransit Services - Application for them is on their website
No Sunday Service
South Shore service to meet train passengers, except on Sundays which is their busiest day
Late Night Service for ND/St. Mary's on Friday/Saturday nights for student safety
NOTE: Jo Broden noted these buses are going through residential neighborhoods at 3 am instead of taking larger streets and residents would like the route changed
There are currently 20 open positions they are having problems filling
They are working with WorkOne and applications are available on their website
Bill #54-17 LEVYING TAXES AND FIXING TRANSPO TAX RATE
2018 Budget will be $13,505,827.00 of that $4,481,065.00 will be from property taxes on the citizens at the tax rate of 0.1422 (Previously they said the budget would be $10,662,269)
It costs $250K to add a new route
ND Game Day Service is underwritten by sponsors, so it does not add additonal expenses
They are looking at raising the $1 fare
There are currently 22 Compress Gas Buses
Diesel gas costs $1 more a gallon than Compressed Gas
They got a $1M grant for bus shelters in 23 locations and they will be put in over the next 2-3 years
Wages are 53% of their Budget and they are going to be renegotiating them in October
They have added a route to the new VA Hospital in Mishawaka
They will be adding routes when the new 4 Winds Casino opens
There are approximately 320 Transpo Access Paratransit rides per day and these are increasing
Each ACCESS ride, one way costs them $36. They charge $2.
2 Million rides are given in a year for about 60K people
The need for Paratransit has increased, putting a strain on funding since they lose $34 per ride Idea: Created by a Notre Dame graduate - https://www.gobutterfli.com/ On demand private On-demand Assisted Transportation
It is my goal as an Advocate to involve YOU in the process.
If these are your priorities, I need your VOTE and Donations!
My campaign is a grassroots one. Donations are appreciated and helpful!
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