City extends regular commuter book subsidy

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Council also OKs one-time $50 subsidy for June 2022

The council this week extended the regular $85 commuter book subsidy through Dec. 31. The council also added an additional one-time only $50 commuter book subsidy for June 2022.

This was an item on the Consent Calendar, which was approved collectively by a unanimous vote of the council.

Avalon gets Prop. A money through the LA County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, according to the staff report by Finance Director Matthew Baker and Administrative Analyst Audra McDonald.

“The City has received $1,000,000 in Proposition A Incentive Funds annually over the last several fiscal years, with $700,000 earmarked for the commuter subsidy program, and $300,000 earmarked for the City’s land transit system,” according to their report.

“In addition to these annual funds, the City received an additional $364,878 in Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) funds through the Proposition A Incentive Program,” according to the Baker-McDonald report.

The city has to spend the money during the current fiscal year and must be spent on commuter or land transportation, according to their report.

“As a result of the CRRSAA Funds and the decreased commuter activity, Staff recommended increasing the regular commuter book subsidy from $70 to $85 to offset the impact of operator fare increases to residents and an additional one-time $100 subsidy for the month of January 2022 in order to fully utilize these funds,” according to the Baker-McDonald report.

“City Council approved Staff recommendations at the December 7, 2021 City Council Meeting,” according to the Baker-McDonald report.

“During the month of January 2022, the City subsidized 2,340 commuter books totaling $435,734 in subsidy expenditures,” according to the Baker-McDonald report.

“As a result of the additional one-time $100 subsidy, commuter book purchases decreased to approximately 300 books per month for February 2022 through April 2022,” according to the report.

“Through April 2022, the City has spent $804,987 on the commuter subsidy program with a further $259,891 available to spend over the last two months of the fiscal year,” according to the report.

“Staff recommends offering an additional one-time $50 subsidy for the month of June 2022 in order to fully utilize awarded funds in the current fiscal year,” according to the report.

The staff report advised the council that it was difficult to asses the effect of the subsidy increase on demand. The report told the council that increasing the subsidy could exceed funds, which would require the city’s General Fund to cover any excess.

“Staff does not anticipate this scenario at the proposed subsidy level but expenditures would exceed available funds by approximately $100 thousand if subsidized commuter book sales matched January 2022 levels,” according to the Baker-McDonald report.

“Staff will continue to monitor activity to assess whether the increased subsidy amount is sustainable based on commuter activity and recommends extending the current regular subsidy amount of $85 per commuter book through December 2022. Staff will also continue to work with Metro to identify any additional pandemic-related assistance eligible for assignment under the Proposition A Incentive Program in future fiscal years,” according to the Baker-McDonald report.

City extends regular commuter book subsidy