HART proposes reducing budget, yet increasing tax rate listen08/22/11 Josh Holton
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday | Listen to this entire show:
The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority plans to increase the millage rate on a typical property owner by about 41 cents per year. Thatâ€™s even though HARTâ€™s overall proposed budget is being reduced by 3.2 percent. Director of planning Mary Shavalier said a decrease in revenue from property taxes is making matters more difficult.
And Shavalier said HART may partner with other organizations to compensate for any additional service needs around the county.
More than a 5 per cent increase in ridership has helped with HARTâ€™s revenue, which Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe says is a good sign.
The local transit union number has been in negotiations with HART, who is working out a step increase in union wages. So Sharpe proposed scheduling a HART board meeting to discuss this issue before they vote on the 62 million dollar budget during a public hearing on September 12th.
The HART board agreed to Sharpeâ€™s plan, but only after HARTâ€™s attorney Chip Fletcher made clear that the union negotiations cannot be dealt with at the same time as the budget, as they are separate issues. Sharpe hopes this will make the new budget more clearly defined to the public.
While some board members were worried a 25 cent increase in one-way and day fare passes may deter riders, County Commissioner Sandra Murman said that special striping for Bus Rapid Transit and other unique bus lines would allow buses to pass through certain traffic lights, making them a more attractive option for riders.
Also at this morningâ€™s meeting, the board renewed the TECO Streetcar for another five year contract.