The city tax rate is going down, but Citibus riders will be paying more to ride. That issue sparked most of the debate at Lubbock City Hall Thursday. The debate took about an hour with some heated moments and even some scripture reading.
"This is 2007 and the last time we adjusted the rates was 1996, I believe, and we just can't continue to operate like we did in 1996," Mayor Pro Tem Jim Gilbreath said.
"If we are looking at increasing fares for Citibus, then why are we increasing 25% to the most needy?" Councilwoman Phyllis Jones said.
Since 2003, Citibus has lost nearly $2 Million in federal funding, and now they're asking the city for $561,000 to make up those costs. Money the city must find in its budget.
"And I heard over and over again from these riders... I would venture to say more than half saying 'please, we understand if you have to raise our fares, but please don't take away our services," Councilman John Leonard said.
Instead of raising fares, Councilwoman Phyllis Jones argued all taxpayers should help fund Citibus.
"It has to be across the board," Jones said.
Opposition came from Councilman John Leonard.
"We're talking about $.25. We're talking about how minimum wages have gone up, other things have gone up I know but everyone else, the working poor that have a car are paying more for that fuel, annd it's not fair for them to have to pay more for the fuel and not the riders of Citibus... A 25 cent increase," said Leonard.
About an hour later...
"All those in favor of Mr. Gilbreath's motion please raise your right hand. All those opposed please raise your right hand. Motion carries 4/3 with Ms. Jones, Ms. DeLeon and Mr. Price dissenting," Mayor David Miller said.
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