Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Mountain Rides plans $3.7M budget

Funding for operations comparable to this fiscal year

Express Staff Writer

Mountain Rides’ buses are shown earlier this year at bus stops at the intersection of Sun Valley Road and East Avenue in Ketchum. On Aug. 1, the Mountain Rides board of directors unanimously approved an invitation for bids for construction of a transportation hub at the intersection. Photo by Roland Lane

    Mountain Rides Transportation Authority is anticipating a $3.7 million budget for the coming fiscal year, but still faces the possibility of a cut in federal funding.
    As the Oct. 1 start of fiscal year 2015 approaches, Mountain Rides is still fine-tuning its projected budget and awaiting final funding decisions from its funding partners. Mountain Rides typically finalizes its budget in September, after budgets have been finalized by local municipalities that help fund the organization
    However, Executive Director Jason Miller said at a special Mountain Rides board of directors meeting on Friday, Aug. 1, that the $3.7 million projected for fiscal year 2015 looks fairly solid, except for the possibility of the federal funding cut.
    “Worse case it would be $120,000,” Miller said.
    The projected fiscal year 2015 budget is only slightly smaller than the 2014 budget of $3.95 million. The difference is mainly explainable in capital funding expenditures for new construction projects, including expenditures toward a South Valley Transportation Center in Bellevue and a Ketchum Transportation Hub.
    The draft 2015 budget provides for $2,536,500 for operational expenses and $1,152,500 for capital expenditures.
    Miller said Mountain Rides anticipates comparable funding for fiscal year 2015, a total of $1,157,000, from its six funding partners, with the city of Ketchum providing the largest chunk at $550,000, the same amount the city provided for fiscal year 2014.
    Mountain Rides expects to receive $250,000 from the city of Sun Valley, which was the same amount the city provided for 2014. The city of Hailey is expected to provide $68,000 for fiscal year 2015.
    The city of Bellevue provided $200 for fiscal year 2014 and Mountain Rides expects no funding from the city for 2015.
    Modest increases are expected from Blaine County and Sun Valley Co. The county contribution is expected at $110,000, up $2,000 from its fiscal year 2014 contribution. Funding from Sun Valley Co. funding is expected at $179,000, up $4,000 from its 2014 contribution.
    Total federal funding, including funding for both operations and capital expenditures, is listed on the draft budget at $1,865,000, a number that does not take into account a possible cut in federal dollars.
    For fiscal year 2015, Mountain Rides anticipates receiving $206,000 for bus fares and passes, $175,000 for its vanpool service, $55,000 in advertising revenues and $15,000 for charter service and special events.
    Mountain Rides is a nonprofit organization that provides free bus service in the Ketchum-Sun Valley area and in Hailey, paid-fare bus service between the north and south valleys, and vanpool service for workers who commute to Blaine County from the Magic Valley.
    In other business on Aug. 1, the Mountain Rides board of directors unanimously approved a contract not to exceed $130,250 to JHS Architects in Pocatello for design, engineering services and construction management for the South Valley Transportation Center. Construction is expected to start in April of 2015.
    The board also unanimously approved an invitation for bids for construction of the Ketchum Transit Hub at the intersection of Sun Valley Road and East Avenue. Construction is expected to start this fall.

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