Whitewater’s Common Council meeting was a hot topic for discussion as Brown Cab’s general manager Karl Schulte and the city of Whitewater’s finance director Steve Hatton presented a potential financial solution for the expected $22,934 in revenue loss due to loss in ridership.
The program is operated majorly through funding from WisDOT/FTA grants and needs to get approval before making any big decisions. Even more-so a problem is the riding operating costs which plan on raising from $28.87 in 2018-19 to $31.73 in 2019-20.
Hatton and Schulte presented a set of solutions to the Common Council that focused on allocating funds previously set aside for a taxi replacement, creating new revenue streams through sponsorships, and widening of the existing revenue stream through an increase of fares.
Although the hearing wasn’t simply about budgeting, Brienne Brown a Whitewater resident who ran for a seat on the Whitewater City Council in the spring of 2018, stated her frustration with the company’s prior engagement with physical handicapped riders.
Brown said she spoke with a few members of the handicapped community in Whitewater and they had either been left ride-less or were waiting for an egregious amount of time, forcing them into a move to Fort Atkinson. Schulte defended Brown Cab as a company as a whole referring to their hard-closing time and they emphasize to riders regardless of physical capabilities that they may have.
When discussing the next steps for the programs with the looming financial crisis on the horizon Lynn Binnie, a representative from District 4 since 2008, was on board with giving Brown Cab what the needed to succeed.
“Sometimes it’s important for the city to contribute to an important service like the Brown Cab,” said Binnie.
Wisconsin Lobby Day
Whitewater city manager Cameron Clapper attended the League of Wisconsin municipalities Lobby Day event on February 20, where he had the opportunity to present concerns and strategies for smaller municipalities that might not be discussed otherwise in daily state government hearings.
The agenda provided on the event laid many topics for discussion including strengthening of local democracy, fixing the broken funding systems for local government, and tailoring laws and taxes for community size throughout the state of Wisconsin.
In terms of strengthening government, Clapper showed dissatisfaction with the way cities belonging to the of the League of Wisconsin municipalities were limited in terms of how they can organize their government best fit for their city and how the taxes are spread out.
Funding systems are crucial to small towns and since 2005, “the state has strictly limited the annual growth in a municipalities tax levy. In the last 18 years shared revenue for municipalities has been reduced by 94 million,” according to the agenda for Lobby Day.
- Community TV station worked through some technical difficulties that prevented broadcast of the February 19 council meeting. Those issues have been resolved and programing will continue as scheduled.
- The city of Whitewater is looking for active members of the community to join various boards for this year. If interested please visit http://www.whitewater-wi.gov.