City council approves new budget

By Kelly Ducote / The Observer May 17, 2013 11:54 am
The La Grande Budget Committee approved the city’s general fund, enterprise and other budgets Wednesday night. 

The only change to the proposed budgets was to allocate $2,236 from the city council and city manager’s fund for Community Connection of Northeast Oregon, contingent that the group receives an Oregon Department of Transportation grant.

Frank Thomas spoke on behalf of Community Connection during the public comment portion of the hearing seeking matching funds for an ODOT grant that would reinstate Saturday public transit service downtown. If Community Connection receives the grant, ODOT will fund up to $148,290 for the program over the next two fiscal years.

“The local match obligation comes to $16,972,” Thomas said.

Island City pledged $1,500 at its budget meeting Monday night, and Community Connection hopes to get $5,500 a year from the county, which leaves “about $4,400 total or $2,236 per year to make that project fly,” Thomas said.

He said that the portion from Max Square to Safeway is one of the busiest portions of the transit route and that Saturday service would bring 5,000 people to the downtown core.

“The most common unfulfilled trip request we have right now is to the farmers market on Saturday,” Thomas said.

During the budget committee deliberation’s, members agreed that allocating the funds would be a good idea.

“For $2,236 a year, I think it’s worth it,” Mary Ann Miesner said.

City Manager Robert Strope said the money could be re-allocated from the city council and city manager budget with an intent to set aside the funds again next year.

“I’m not too worried about coming up with $2,200 for such a worthy endeavor,” Strope said.

If Community Connection receives the grant and necessary matching funds, Thomas hopes to reinstate Saturday service by July 1.

The budgets will go before the city council June 12 for adoption.

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