In a lean meeting Feb. 19, the Whitewater Common Council voted to increase fares for the 2019 Shared Ride Taxi Program.

Council President Patrick Singer directed the proposal.

The approved vote would increase agency and package delivery fares to $9.50 each per trip. Before the Common Council’s approval, the agency fare stood at $6.50, while the package fare cost $4.25.

Shared Ride Taxi Program ridership has been steadily declining since 2011. Ridership dipped 10 percent in 2017 and another five percent in 2018.

“This is one of the most important service programs we have,” Vice President Lynn Binnie said.

The hourly cost to operate the program will increase from $28.87 to $31.73 in 2019. The Council notes the increase in fares will create a shortfall of $32,370 in the 2019 budget.

“I’m concerned about fare increase impact for the elderly,” Binnie said.

The approved vote for the program, however, would not see an increased cost for the elderly. Fares currently stand at $2.25.

Whitewater citizen Brienne Brown expressed concern about the reliability of the current Shared Ride Taxi Program, claiming elderly and handicapped people are not getting service.

“I’ve heard services are not active around dinner time,” Brown said.

City Finance Director Steve Hatton said all people should be getting service, but also noted communication issues and hard-closing hours could be factors for some not getting service.

The program’s hard-close time is at 9:30 p.m. Monday through Wednesday during the school session. Hard-close time takes place at 7 p.m. during the non-school year on the same days. Hard-closing hours Thursday through Saturday during the school year is at 3 a.m.

Whitewater City Manager Cameron Clapper also announced he will be heading to Madison Feb. 20 for the League of Wisconsin municipalities Lobby Day event. Clapper will be meeting with Democratic Sen. Janis Ringhand to discuss a funding increase for the state’s shared revenue. Ringhand represents the Whitewater area.

“There has been a decline in shared revenue for the past several years,” Clapper said.

Funding for shared revenue has been cut by $94 million for the past 18 years.

Clapper also noted he wanted to discuss extending Highway 12.

Clapper positively updated the Council on several other topics including the snow removal efforts, Clay Street resurfacing, and the stuffed K9 Tilla being sold.

Whitewater has seen some impressive snow totals over the past month, with a few storms in between bringing between four to 10 inches of snow each in some areas.

$1.3 million has already been achieved with the Clay Street resurfacing. Clapper noted the city plans to spend more to ensure complete resurfacing.

The stuffed K9 Tilla costs $20, and all proceeds go towards equipment for the K9 unit.

The Common Council’s next meeting will be held Tuesday, March 5.



Posted by Tyler Job, filed under Uncategorized. Date: February 27, 2019, 2:03 am | No Comments »

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