Daily Archives: July 8, 2011

Proposal keeps Saturday buses on the road, but at a price

Wichita staff is proposing to tap a reserve fund for $700,000 to keep city buses rolling on Saturdays for the next two years — while raising fares 50 cents to $1.75 a ride.

That alternative replaces an earlier recommendation by City Manager Robert Layton to raise the fares and cut Saturday service to reduce the cost of operating the system. The earlier plan provoked a strong reaction from bus users who said it would keep them from shopping and running necessary errands on the weekend.

City Council members Lavonta Williams and Janet Miller discuss actions to save Saturday bus service.

The new proposal was announced today by budget officer Mark Manning at a news conference to distribute paper copies of the city’s annual budget to the press.

The plan for preserving Saturday service will need the council’s OK to tap into the city’s “permanent reserve fund.”

The $1.8 million was set aside by the council starting in 2008 and is not part of the city’s $22.6 million general fund reserve, Manning said.

If it can get through the next two years, expected federal grant funding should put the transit system on firmer financial footing, Manning said.

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Saturday bus service retained in proposed city budget

The city will continue to offer bus service on Saturdays, but fares will increase by 50 cents under City Manager Robert Layton’s proposed budget.

The $549 million budget does not increase the city’s mill levy. In order to balance the budget, Layton is proposing an early retirement program similar to Sedgwick County’s, fuel conservation efforts and the likely delay of a new downtown library that had been budgeted for construction next year.

The city also plans to develop new policies for how suspects are charged by police. In some cases where the law allows discretion, such as driving without proof of insurance, defendants may be cited instead of being booked into jail. Those measures are aimed at limiting how much the city pays Sedgwick County to house inmates in the county jail.

A public hearing on the proposed budget is slated for July 19 and August 2. The city council will vote on the budget August 9 after a final public hearing.