The Capital Metro board of directors today adopted a $172.9 million operating budget, a $20.6 million capital budget, and $13.1 million for long-term commitments and interlocal agreements for fiscal year 2012, which begins Oct. 1. Although Capital Metro is projecting a three percent increase in sales tax revenue next year, the transit agency projects a decrease in all other revenues, including federal funding. Nonetheless, Capital Metro has adopted a $206.6 million balanced budget that maintains comparable bus and rail service without a fare increase.
Capital Metro has taken many steps to improve the budget development and reporting process in order to strengthen its business practices and transparency. These actions include beginning the budget process two months earlier, linking the budget to new and improved financial policies, and providing the board and public more comprehensive information and opportunities for feedback than ever before. The community's participation and input through http://capmetro.icanmakeitbetter.com
yielded over a hundred good ideas, many of which will be explored by Capital Metro over the next year. The FY2012 operating budget:Projects a three percent increase in sales tax revenue, $153.2 million
Maintains bus service levels similar to FY2011
Maintains rail service levels (weekday service and four Friday nights and three weekend days for special events)
Freezes administrative employee salaries; includes salary step increases for bargaining employees based on seniority and certifications per labor agreement
Keeps current on ongoing commitments to local entities
Budgets fuel for the year at $3.50 gallon; plans to hedge 10 percent of fuel consumption
The FY2012 capital budget:
Continues implementation of the MetroRapid project, using $7.3 million in federal grant funding and $1.8 million in local funds
Allocates $1.8 million toward bus stop accessibility improvements
Continues implementation of the Intelligent Transportation System with $1.6 million in federal funding and $402,000 in local funds
Allocates $1.4 million in bus transmission and engine rebuilds
Allocates $719,900 to continuing replacement of the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system for MetroAccess
Capital Metro is also seeking alternative funding sources through competitive grants and transportation development credits that could be used for additional capital projects.
Capital Metro has budgeted to use $0.5 million from reserves, in order to balance the budget in the first few months of FY2012. The agency plans to refinance the rail car lease in January 2012 in which it will realize savings that will be placed back into reserves.
"Developing this budget was no easy task. We have made some difficult but necessary decisions to improve Capital Metro's financial sustainability," said Capital Metro President/CEO Linda S. Watson. "I'm proud of our board, staff and the community for coming together to diligently create a balanced budget that maintains similar levels of service."