PORT ANGELES — The Clallam Transit board has approved an $11.3 million operating budget that maintains existing service and fares and contributes $1.4 million to reserves.
Board members voted unanimously Dec. 16 to approve the operating and capital/grant budgets for 2021.
The budget projects a 1 percent increase in sales tax revenue, the agency’s largest source of income.
“We were concerned about the impact on sales tax,” Clallam Transit Finance Manager Dunyele Mason said of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“But over the course of the year, there was, in reality, only two months where sales tax dipped. All the other months have been significantly higher than the prior year.”
Clallam County’s operating budget contains $12.7 million in total revenue, $11.3 million in total expenses and ends 2021 with $9.3 million in reserve.
Sales tax accounts for $9.1 million of Clallam Transit’s budgeted revenue in 2021. Fares were budgeted at $702,400.
Clallam Transit received $4.4 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding this year and will use that funding to maintain current service levels into 2021. The adopted budget includes no fare increases, stable grant revenue and pay raises for all employees.
Transit officials said they were negotiating a new contract with Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 587.
“We have a tentative agreement at this point,” Clallam Transit General Manager Kevin Gallacci said at the Wednesday board meeting.
“That will go to the members for a vote, and then it will be ratified by the Clallam Transit board after the fact if the members pass the contract.”
Transit board member Mark Ozias, who is also a Clallam County commissioner, said the 2021 budget was well-presented by staff.
“My lack of comment this year is a compliment to the work that you put together,” Ozias told Mason.
Operations Manager Jim Fetzer reported that November fixed-route ridership was down 53.5 percent from November 2019.
The November ridership was “basically consistent with what we’ve experienced through this whole COVID-19 pandemic,” Fetzer told the board.
“We continue to enforce passenger limits on buses, and we continue to disinfect buses at the Gateway Transit Center all day,” he added.
New state guidelines require 3 feet of spacing between bus passengers while 6 feet of spacing is recommended, Fetzer said.
“They also require that we have employees document that they are well each day when they report to work, and also that they take their temperature when they arrive at the facility,” Fetzer said.
“Many of the other new requirements in the guidelines were already in place here at Clallam Transit.”