The Edmond Sun

May 10, 2013

Committee discusses Citylink funding shortfall

James Coburn
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — Members of the Public Transportation Committee learned this week that Citylink need not depend on the creation of a public trust to keep the buses rolling.

The City of Edmond is considering ways to fund Citylink due to cuts in a 2012 transportation bill passed by Congress. The city no longer will receive $150,000 of federal grant monies for maintaining Citylink after the 2013-14 fiscal year. City Manager Larry Stevens said recently that the city will be able to resolve its Citylink budget concerns.

Public trusts allow municipalities to sell bonds and use the revenue from those bonds to fund public projects, said Steve Murdock, city attorney.

All of the funding designated for Citylink comes from the city’s general fund. A public trust is not needed for the city to generate alternative sources of income for Citylink, such as donations and advertising, Murdock said.

“That may be a misunderstanding that we had,” said Victoria Caldwell, City Council liaison to the committee.

Caldwell hopes to include a $35,000 revenue study in the FY 2013-14 budget. Research efforts are in beginning stages to identify some other sources of revenue to assist funding Citylink in the five-year plan. The city is not looking to issue debt for Citylink, she said.

“My thought is to look at it all with good information,” Caldwell added.

City Finance Director Ross VanderHamm estimates that the net operational cost for this current fiscal year will be $1.1 million. The city had anticipated the cost to be about $900,000, he said. He expects that Citylink’s budget could be $1.687 million in FY 2017-18.

The cost to charge for ridership would cost more than the net gain the city would receive for charging for the free Citylink program, according to the city manager’s office. | 341-2121