Douglas County ponders options in helping to fund JAC
Appeal Staff Writer
Douglas County could turn down a request Thursday to help fund a Carson City bus service that runs over the county line to the shopping center on Topsy Lane.
Douglas County commissioners could also vote to fund all or part of the proposed $16,000, but commissioners said they are looking at all their options.
Carson City’s transportation commission voted in November to send a request to the Douglas County Commissioners for $16,000, the amount the city says it costs to run the Jump Around Carson (JAC) bus service to Carson Valley Plaza.
“It really comes down to if our contribution amount, whatever it may be, is worth the money,” said Commissioner Doug Johnson. “Or can we do something similar for the same amount of money or less?”
One of the options is to run Douglas’ bus service, Douglas Area Rural Transit (DART), to Carson City if the city stops service to the shopping center. The county does have $13,000 it would have otherwise paid to Washoe County for its bus service from Carson City to shopping center.
Carson City’s bus service will now carry those riders. A city commission voted in November to reduce overlapping services in the city.
Douglas could also vote to reduce Washoe County’s bus service further in the county, possibly freeing up more funds.
But the commissioners need to be careful with money, Johnson said, and their first responsibility is to the county. He said he won’t decide what to do before the meeting, though.
“I’m not out to build the big fence between Carson and Douglas,” he said.
Whatever commissioners decide, the county does need to keep some kind of bus system running between the counties – especially for seniors, said Commissioner Kelly Kite.
Carson City officials have pushed Douglas for several months to help fund the bus system. They have said it is only fair because of the sales taxes Douglas gets as a result of the bus service.
About 30 people ride to the center from Carson City a day, most of them Carson City residents going to work or shop.
Shelly Aldean, head of the city transportation commission, said if Douglas doesn’t vote to fund JAC, she might suggest stopping service to the county.
“Obviously, if they’re not willing to enter into some sort of fair reimbursement arrangement with Carson City then they don’t value the JAC service,” she said.
Douglas could ask for donations for businesses in the shopping center if the government can’t afford it, she said.
The county needs to listen to its staff, said Commissioner Nancy McDermid, and look at the numbers before voting.
“I understand reasoning behind (the proposal),” she said. “We just need to see who it really benefits.”
Carson City started its bus system in October 2005 and pays $450,000 a year for it. The system has 9,000 riders a month.
• Contact reporter Dave Frank at email@example.com or 881-1212.
If you go
What: Douglas County Commission meeting
When: Thursday at 1 p.m.
Where: Douglas County Administration Building (Old Courthouse), 1616 Eighth St., Minden
On the Net: The full agenda is posted on the County’s Web site at http://cltr.co.douglas.nv.us