Thursday, November 13, 2008

Budget Meetings: Hour 14

After almost two hours of debate, the City Council voted 12-8 to go ahead with Mayor Dave Cieslewicz's plan to raise Metro bus fares from $1.50 to $2.00, thus generating $240,000 dollars to put toward the Metro reserve fund.

Along with that plan, the council also voted to do away with the city's Clean Air Action days, which have in the past encouraged people to ride the busses whenever atmospheric conditions are such that dangerous amounts of particulate matter are present in the air. Alders and the Mayor agreed that the Clean Air Action days did not significantly increase bus ridership on those days, so the council opted to pocket the $40,000 dollars anually budgeted to fund free bus fares on those days.

Among the hours of heated debate, Mayor Cieslewicz took the stand himself in defense of his plan, which generated almost half of the public comment received at the first night's budget meeting.

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