At a Special Called Meeting on July 31, the Pierce Transit Board of Commissioners voted in favor of delaying the September service reduction plan in light of higher-than-expected sales tax growth over the first five months of 2013. The Board’s action cancels implementation of the 28% service reduction plan that would have taken effect on September 29, and allows staff additional time to evaluate sales tax performance and complete a revised service plan for the Board’s consideration.
The Board’s action to delay service reductions was based on Pierce Transit’s sales tax collections through May 2013. The Agency’s sales tax receipts are showing unexpected but steady growth over the same period in 2012. Collection data lags two months behind distribution, and was not available to the Board when it voted to approve service reductions in June. Other jurisdictions within the region are also reporting higher-than-expected sales tax collections; however, few are impacted by sales tax volatility as much as Pierce Transit. Sales tax revenue represents 70 – 75% of the Agency’s operating budget revenue.
CEO Lynne Griffith said during the meeting, “The Board’s action gives the Agency time to see how sales tax will perform for the balance of 2013, time to complete its 2014 budget process this fall, time to integrate the Board’s recently-adopted strategic plan, and return next year with a revised service plan based on a more complete financial picture.”
The September 2013 service reduction plan would have reduced the Agency’s service hours from 417,000 hours to 300,000 service hours effective September 29. The Board’s decision means the Agency will likely maintain service at about 392,000 hours through 2014.
For further information regarding Pierce Transit, visit www.piercetransit.org.