Transit board expects small rise in sales tax revenues

Local transit officials aren't taking any chances.

The budget for Ben Franklin Transit in 2011 is based only on a slight increase in revenues.

The $29 million budget approved by the transit board Thursday night anticipates a 1.5 percent increase in sales tax revenues next year.

At the same meeting, officials presented a report that said tax revenues were up 4.8 percent for the first 10 months of this year.

But officials are worried about possible mid-year layoffs at Hanford, said Administrative Services Manager Allen Walchsaid, and the loss of sales tax dollars that could come with it.

It's expected that some of the work at Hanford paid for by federal economic stimulus money will be completed by October, according to the Department of Energy.

The district gets 76 percent of its money from sales taxes paid in areas it serves.

Board co-Chairman Matt Watkins said it was like budgeting with "a little crystal ball."

There are no cuts to services or fare increases in the budget. The transit system already made several cuts in its service in March.

"The assumptions you see are conservative numbers," Walch told board members.

The budget still adds about $450,000 to the transit system's reserves.

Walch said the cash reserves will be $1.5 million.

There is a 2.5 percent increase in money for employee raises. General Manager Tim Fredrickson said that is an average and doesn't mean each employee will get an equal raise.