The Oro Valley Town Council will hold a public hearing to see what residents have to say about the proposed closure of the Coyote Run Transit System, Wednesday, June 1, at 6 p.m.
To balance the budget for the upcoming fiscal year, the council directed staff to begin preparations to close down the town’s transit program by June 30.
In an op/ed printed in the May 25 edition of The Explorer, Vice Mayor Mary Snider said in March 2010, the State eliminated the funding for Coyote Run through the Local Transportation Assistance Funding program, and cash reserves were used in 2011 to keep services in operation.
Council members stressed that, without funding from the state, they had to close the program.
The council has promised to find alternative forms of transportation for the program’s 816 active riders. There are 1,700 registered users.
OV Transit Services Administrator Aimee Ramsey is working one-on-one with the residents to find alternative transportation. The alternative programs will be provided through the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA).
Mayor Satish Hiremath said he is hopeful that the 13 employees of Coyote Run may also be employed by the RTA.
Even though a public hearing will be held, and the council is slated to vote on officially closing the program, it is unlikely their position will change. The tentative budget approved on May 18 does not have Coyote Run listed, and all plans to date are to turn the program over to RTA.
The council has been forced to make tough decisions this budget cycle, facing a $3 million deficit.
By taking away funding from Coyote Run and working with RTA to provide transit services, the town will save an estimated $320,000.
Former council member Connie Culver called Snider’s invitation to residents to speak on the issue “lip service.”
Culver called Coyote Run an award-winning service that should remain intact.