Letters to the Editor

Days of crying ‘wolf’ for bailouts are over | Letter

Editor,

The article on the perils of Island Transit was a good lesson in a government entity that believes itself to be indispensable, so it just continues to cry “wolf,” believing the taxpayers will bail them out with no question asked.

I attended every meeting from October 2008 to March 2010.

Board member Bob Clay has suggested that he did not see any financial reports. I suppose the expenditure reports I saw at each meeting, and that the board approved with little fanfare, were a figment of my imagination.

If these expenditure reports disappeared after Barbara Savary came onboard, why was it not questioned?

Sandra Kuykendall, the old/new finance manager, said, “We have always been very healthy and frugal. When other transit agencies cut services during the recession, we did not have any problems.”

Hopefully the public will remember that, in 2009, when she was running the levy meetings, she stated that if the levy failed, Island Transit would have to cut services drastically.

So yes, Kuykendall, the wheels kept turning. But if you want to be honest, tell the public that the additional $1.8 to $2.5 million that went into the Island Transit coffers after the levy passed kept them running.

After the levy passed, one of Martha Rose’s first orders of business was to expand Island Transit service off island. She even had then–state Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen giving a thumbs up to the “Island Jewel” expansion.

The public needs to ask the hard question of why fares are not collected. The old, outdated shouting-from-the-rooftop statement that it costs more to collect the money than they would receive needs to be put to rest.

The only reason they do not collect a fee is a simple one — the very bloated passenger numbers they depended on to get state and federal funding, which is being reduced, would dry up completely. They would have to confirm passenger numbers to incoming revenue.

This would be a death knell for the empire building but would, I believe, make Island Transit as healthy and viable as it was in the beginning.

Jim Pace

Oak Harbor

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