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Articles

Council Approves Trolley Funding

By Sondra Murphy

The Ojai City Council has decided to continue the current Ojai Trolley Service, despite the loss of revenues previously used to support it. After exploring a number of changes in the transit services, it was determined that the city would still be in the red, and so opted to continue the routes as they currently exist.
This decision was not taken lightly, since reductions in city revenues, primarily from deflated transient occupancy and sales taxes, is resulting in cutbacks throughout the city’s departments. Meanwhile, drops in gasoline sales tax and federal funding are impacting transit funding statewide.
“In order to maintain the current level of service, we’d have to subsidize the trolley by about $120,000 in the next fiscal year,” said city manager Jere Kersnar. “You asked what the services would look like with no subsidizing from the general fund. We could only afford 60 hours of services, as opposed to 162. It’s not really a viable system left. It’s very hard to see how that is a workable system for many riders.”
The trolley’s budget projections for fiscal year 2010-2011 are $822,472. Estimated revenues are $705,361. “If I were a council member, I might think about buying ourselves some time in this year and the next with the expectation, in the following fiscal year, we might see a restoration of funding,” said Kersnar. He added that the opposite could also take place: an elimination of transit funds that would force the shut down of the Trolley Service.
“If we could increase the farebox, it could repay the general fund,” said Councilwoman Carol Smith. “If the economy improves, and if the visitors use it, I’m hoping that people will respond to the call of ‘use it or lose it.’” She added that if people could just commit to using the trolley once a week, it would help the situation. “We need to see that our public loves the trolley and will use it.” Smith said that part of the tourist appeal of Ojai includes the trolley.
Ojai Valley Green Coali

The Ojai City Council has decided to continue the current Ojai Trolley Service, despite the loss of revenues previously used to support it. After exploring a number of changes in the transit services, it was determined that the city would still be in the red, and so opted to continue the routes as they currently exist. This decision was not taken lightly, since reductions in city revenues, primarily from deflated transient occupancy and sales taxes, is resulting in cutbacks throughout the city’s departments. Meanwhile, drops in gasoline sales tax

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