Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Mountain Rides to operate on less

Proposed budget down $20K from this year


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

Mountain Rides driver Bill Sproule operates a bus in the Warm Springs area. The organization is looking at $20K less in funding for operations for the coming fiscal year, but will not likely have to make major adjustments in Express file photo

    Mountain Rides Transportation Authority will be operating on about $20,000 less in fiscal year 2014 if a draft budget is adopted as proposed.
    The organization is anticipating an operating budget for the coming year of $2.385 million, compared to $2.405 million for fiscal year 2013.
    A final budget for the coming fiscal year, which starts on Oct. 1, will be presented to the board of directors at its monthly meeting in September. Mountain Rides earlier this year made minor adjustments to some of its routes in anticipation of reduced funding.


Mountain Rides earlier this year made minor adjustments
to some of its routes in anticipation of reduced funding.


    The loss in funding is much less than earlier anticipated, when in April Mountain Rides potentially faced a $200,000 cut in federal funding. Federal funding, from the Federal Transit Administration, is down for the coming year by about $89,000, however much of the loss will be made up by local funding partners if contributions to Mountain Rides are approved as anticipated.
    Federal funding for operations for the coming year is listed in a Mountain Rides budget report issued at an Aug. 29 board of directors meeting at $886,488, compared to $995,000 for fiscal year 2013.
    Budgets are still pending with Blaine County and local municipalities, but the Mountain Rides budget report shows an anticipated increase of about $77,000 from funding partners for the coming fiscal year.
    The city of Ketchum continues to be the largest contributor. Mountain Rides is expecting funding for the coming year of $475,000, which is $30,000 more than the city contributed this fiscal year.
    Mountain Rides anticipates an additional $36,000 from the city of Sun Valley. The city contributed $180,000 in fiscal year 2013 but Mountain Rides anticipates $216,000 for fiscal year 2014.
    The organization anticipates a contribution from Blaine County of $110,000, up $5,000 from this year. The city of Hailey is expected to contribute $58,000, which is up $3,000 from this year.
    Mountain Rides is even anticipating a contribution of $865 from the city of Bellevue, which last year contributed nothing.
    Sun Valley Co., which relies on Mountain Rides for skier services, is expected to contribute $151,000 for the coming year, compared to $149,000 contributed this year.
    Mountain Rides total budget for fiscal year 2014 is listed at $4.9 million, significantly higher than the total $3.1 million for fiscal year 2013. The difference is mainly explainable by federal grant money the organization has already been promised for facilities, primarily a proposed south valley transit center and a proposed transit hub in Ketchum.
    Mountain Rides provides free bus service on its Blue, Red and Green routes for the Ketchum-Sun Valley area. During ski season, additional routes are added for skier transportation.
    Mountain Rides also offers free “around town” service in Hailey on the Hailey Circulator Route.
    Paid fare service is provided between the north and south valley on the organization’s Valley Route.
    Mountain Rides also is paid by local companies or riders that utilize the organizations van service between the Magic Valley and the Wood River Valley.
    According to the proposed budget report, Mountain Rides anticipates total fare revenue for fiscal year 2014 at $381,000, compared to $340,000 for fiscal year 2013.
Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com




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