By Mario Conde
The Measure H Committee approved funds to support the Calexico Dial-A-Ride program this past Monday.
The Calexico City Council discussed this item at their regular meeting three weeks ago were they were informed about the reduction of funding for the program. On May 18, 2011, the General Services Department submitted a budget request to Imperial County Transportation Commission of $402,151. Unfortunately, the City was allocated funding for the 2011-12 FY in the amount of $351,007. In the past three years there has been a decrease in funding for the Calexico Dial-A-Ride Program from $441,112 in 2008 to $351,007 in last fiscal year.
The General Services Department has looked into various options. These options include increasing fare, reducing service hours, eliminating Sunday services and/or eliminating buses. The City of Calexico is the only City within the Imperial County that provides seven day services with this program. One of the options was to increase the fare to $1.50 and keep the same level of services. The ICTC is considering the consolidation of all the Dial-A-Ride programs in the Imperial Valley under one umbrella. The Council gave direction to staff to look for other options to finance the Dial-A-Ride program, since they want to keep the same level of services.
The Measure H board approved the recommendation of funding for $51,144 with the condition that General Services Director, Nick Fenley, brings back a survey that will be done to senior citizens in regards to the decrease of services of the Dial-A-Ride. When the survey is done and after its defined how the services will change, the commission will revisit the issue and will issue a new recommendation as to how much the funding will be for the program.
In other items, the Measure H Board approved funding for one school resource. In a report given by Police Chief Jim Neujahr, the current fiscal situation facing the Calexico Unified School District for this school year, CUSD will not be able to fund two SRO positions as in the past years. The cost for one SRO will be $110, 343, included salaries and benefits for one year. The board approved the proposal but with the condition the funding will only until January.