By: Diane Benjamin
The below is what Connect Transit reported for February: PDF page 10 https://drive.google.com/file/d/1f2onCQqMAcgBJYz2K8wJRQemNshaqk2T/view
What is the point of a transit program that budgets a loss of almost $12,000,000 a year? Insanity maybe?
Bloomington is giving Connect $610,000 a year for operating expenses.
Normal is giving them $300,000 for the same.
Both also contribute to the capital funding, note Connect still hasn’t repaid the money they borrowed for operating expenses:
See previous story: https://blnnews.com/2019/04/05/local-socialists-rebel/
Sarah Grammer wasn’t done commenting on her Facebook page, this is from today: (the below was copied)
I find it interesting that Mayor Koos used a small portion of a statement I made in order to accuse me of “misleading statements.” Here is the sentence in full: “Remember that 1% additional sales tax you passed three years ago “in part to help better fund transit”? It’s a regressive tax; all the transit riders are paying it on everything they buy. Maybe you would like to consider increasing the share of the proceeds that go to Connect Transit instead of leaving them with the same flat dollar amount three years running?”
Two weeks ago, I sat in a packed meeting at Life CIL where paratransit riders tried to appeal to Connect Transit Admin to hold off on fare and fee increases that could devastate their lives. Connect Admin insisted this devastation had to happen because they couldn’t get the level of local funding they need. Alderwoman Karen Schmidt said that the Town and City had been giving them a quarter of the penny sales tax since it was raised three years ago. I attended the council meetings where those decisions were made and did not recall that being the agreement.
At the end of the meeting, in the presence of several witnesses, I asked General Manager Isaac Thorne if the statement about Connect receiving a quarter of the one percent sales tax was true. He stated that it was not; it was, as I remembered, a flat dollar amount, and he added that the amount Connect Transit receives from the sales tax has not increased over the past three years.
When we say, “Please, stop. This is hurting people. Let’s look at other options,” we are told these were difficult decisions that just had to be made. But looking at the numbers, one is left to wonder if this is really about money at all or simply about power.
I attach here copies of an email exchange I had with Connect Transit General Manager Isaac Thorne about how the proposed changes would help his budget. All of the original proposed changes were meant to result in, at most, a $257,000 budget improvement, such a tiny portion of Connect Transit’s budget for such a large amount of devastation to riders who lose access to the system.
I also attach two screen captures from Connect Transit’s most recent audit, showing the financial summary and highlights. Help me understand why five of the board members saw a need to approve changes that would extract more money from vulnerable members of our community. Was it simply because these riders have no transportation alternative and therefore can be forced to pay more?
Mike McCurdy, Julie Hile, Judy Buchanan, Monica Bullington, Ryan Whitehouse, can you help us understand the urgency to pass these fare and fee increases and eliminate the Olive route at this time?
When this discussion started last month, Sarah evidently contacted the members of both Councils:
Earlier she contacted the General Manger of Connect:
She received this response two days later:
Anybody else see the obvious?
Connect Transit is a bottomless pit for taxpayer dollars. Yes, it could be run better. Nobody is listening, instead we get to observe the in-fighting!