PORT ANGELES — The Clallam Transit board has approved a $10.07 million budget for 2018 that projects a 0.5 percent increase in sales tax revenue and maintains Strait Shot bus service to Bainbridge Island.
The budget was approved by unanimous vote Dec. 18, General Manager Kevin Gallacci said.
It shows $10.38 million in projected revenue and $10.07 million in total spending authority, leaving $310,000 for reserves.
“I’d say we’re fairly stable right now,” Gallacci said in a Wednesday interview.
“Part of it has to do with the good economy. But folks need to know we’re running off financial assistance.”
Clallam Transit received $750,000 in operating assistance from the federal government this year and budgeted to receive another $750,000 in 2018. Those grants are scheduled to sunset in 2019.
“That assistance has been a great thing to have for Clallam Transit,” said Gallacci, a longtime maintenance manager who was hired as general manager in August.
Cash fares and bus passes are projected to generate $725,700 in revenue for Clallam Transit in 2018, up from $645,000 this year.
That increase is based largely on a full year’s worth of revenue from the Strait Shot, a twice-daily, once-on-Sunday round trip from downtown Port Angeles to the Bainbridge Island ferry terminal.
Clallam Transit launched the No. 123 Strait Shot in June, charging $10 for adults and $5 for youth and pass holders to make the 75-mile, two-hour trip with stops in Sequim, Blyn, Discovery Bay, Poulsbo and Agate Pass.
Gallacci said the agency is “pretty close” to breaking even on the Strait Shot by averaging 10 riders per trip. The Strait Shot recovers more revenue from cash fares than most routes, he added.
“System-wide, we recover 13 percent [of costs] on fare revenue,” Gallacci said.
“Anything over 50 percent is excellent and helps support the overall system.”
The Clallam Transit fare structure is being reviewed by staff. Changes to the fares might be considered by the board in 2018.
“My biggest goal here is to sustain and preserve the amount of service that we put out right now,” Gallacci said.
Sales tax is by far the largest source of revenue for Clallam Transit.
The approved budget shows $7.35 million in projected sales tax revenue, a 0.5 percent increase from this year’s actuals.
“This year, we are 7.5 percent over budget on sales tax revenue, but we don’t know if this is going to continue,” Gallacci said of the strong economy.
“We’ve had bubbles on the economy before. That’s kind of why we are projecting conservatively at 0.5 percent next year.”
On the expenditure side, the largest line items are fixed route operations ($4.15 million), maintenance ($1.82 million) and paratransit ($1.69 million).
Negotiations for a new labor contract for union employees are ongoing. A placeholder raise of 1 percent was included in the budget.
Non-union employees received a 1.75 percent cost-of-living increase in the budget.
The Clallam Transit reserve fund has a balance of about $5.16 million, which includes a $2.7 million operating reserve, Gallacci said.
The board also approved last week amendments to the 2016-22 Transit Development Plan.
Clallam Transit will look to replace four heavy duty buses in 2019, two of which should be electric, Gallacci said.
The Clallam Transit board consists of representatives of the Port Angeles, Sequim and Forks city councils and the Board of Clallam County Commissioners.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at rollikainen@peninsula dailynews.com.