By Tammy Gray –
Although the issue has not been put back on the agenda, Holbrook City Councilman Wade Carlisle addressed the cost of supporting the White Mountain Connection bus service during his report at the May 22 council meeting.
“Compared to running your own vehicle, it’s a huge cost savings,” he said. “We don’t need to subsidize it.”
Carlisle told the council that during a recent discussion with Show Low Mayor Rick Fernau, he learned that the subsidies requested from the cities along the route could be eliminated by a small increase in fares.
“They could raise it (bus fare) two dollars and wipe out the city subsidies,” he noted.
According to Carlisle, such an increase would cost most regular riders an average of $20 per month. He told the council that based on the federal government rate of 55 cents per mile, it would cost around $257 per month for a private vehicle with four occupants in a carpool to travel between Show Low and Holbrook. Carlisle explained that he believes the cost savings over operating a private vehicle make up for any increase in bus fares. He noted that it would also put more of the burden of supporting the transit system on the users rather than on the cities.
“They can easily make up the difference with an added increase to the riders,” he said.
Council members previously decided not to fund the bus service in the coming fiscal year, but were asked to reconsider at their last meeting.
In other action May 22, the council:
* Approved a resolution adopting the Navajo County multi-hazard mitigation plan.
Adoption of the plan is necessary in order to receive certain Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funding in case of a disaster or emergency.
* Approved the renewal of a lease agreement with Abbie Reidhead, D.V.M., at the animal control center.
The next city council meeting is scheduled at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, June 12, at city hall.