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Sep 24

Official AATA Presser, Or So That’s What A Plan Looks Like? I’ve Never Seen One Before

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PRESS RELEASE

For immediate release
September 24, 2009

AATA board approves balanced budget for FY 2010;
expects to end current year under budget

ANN ARBOR , MI – In its ongoing effort to control and reduce expenses, the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority (AATA) Board of Directors has approved a balanced budget for fiscal year 2010 which reflects implementation of $828,000 in cost reduction strategies.

Following the meeting, Board Chair David Nacht said, “I am very proud that the AATA staff has strongly supported the goals of the board, and especially our Planning and Development Committee under the leadership of its chair, Ted Annis, in preparing this budget. As always, we are committed to reducing costs and improving efficiencies in the years to come. We are all working hard together so Ann Arbor taxpayers will get the biggest bang for their buck.”

CEO Michael Ford praised Board Member Rich Robben for recommending the implementation of continuous improvement teams, saying, “Following up on Mr. Robben’s recommendations, AATA has worked over the past year to identify cost reduction strategies by setting up several teams, which included both management and union personnel. The overall goal of the teams is to maintain a high level of service to the public, while lowering or limiting the growth of AATA’s operating expenses whenever and wherever possible.”

Over the past year, the teams studied such aspects of AATA’s operations as energy conservation, facility and vehicle maintenance, holiday and paratransit services and employee staffing.

Among the measures identified by the teams and already implemented are the conversion of AATA’s telephone service to Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) in partnership with the City of Ann Arbor, the recycling of old bus stop signs, increased efficiencies in the use of personnel and the sale of waste oil to refineries for reprocessing instead of paying vendors to dispose of it.

“In total, the continuous improvement teams were responsible for more than $500,000 in structural savings in fiscal year 2009,” Ford said.

“We have already identified 19 possible opportunities to work toward further cost reductions in 2010. We are also looking at possible savings of close to $200,000 should the board approve a change in the type of fuel we purchase and as part-time drivers are added to the work force.”

The new budget, totaling $25,422,868, includes payments of $320,000 for the local connector study and $200,000 for the commuter express route from Canton , which is funded through a federal grant and passenger fares.

The budget also takes into account AATA’s efficiency-filled five-year labor contract. The agreement has enabled AATA to take major steps toward controlling the future costs of health care for both active and retired employees. The full extent of the savings will be realized in the fifth year of the contract, Ford said.

Along with approval of the 2010 budget, the board also authorized the use of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to supplement the local funding of bus routes serving Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township on a short-term basis while a more permanent funding solution is being explored.

Ford added that AATA expects to come in under budget for fiscal year 2009, which ends on September 30.

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Ann Arbor Transportation Authority
2700 South Industrial Hwy., Ann Arbor , Michigan 48104
734.973.6500; 734.973.6338F; www.theride.org
Mary K. Stasiak, Mgr. Community Relations
734.677.3901; mstasiak@TheRide.org

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