MH board denies BART money
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
Dec 13, 2012 | 2628 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
New board sworn in
San Joaquin County 5th District supervisor Leroy Ornellas (left) swear in the new Mountain House Community Service Board members Jim Lamb, Bernice King Tingle, Steven Gutierrez and Andy Su during the meeting Wednesday, Dec. 12.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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MOUNTAIN HOUSE — The majority of the Mountain House Community Services District board of directors voted against spending $21,000 out of the general fund Wednesday, Dec. 12, to subsidize a bus service to the BART station in Dublin.

Director Andy Su was the lone director to favor supporting the bus route that’s taken Mountain House residents to and from the BART station since August.

San Joaquin Regional Transit District Planning manager Nathaniel Atherstone told the board that RTD’s pilot program was no longer able to stand on its own without community assistance. He said it failed to meet the projected rider numbers, peaking at 22 in October and dropping to six in December.

Atherstone said it costs RTD $3,825 per month to operate the service.

Su said the initial cost to Mountain House of $21,000 would likely drop if more people signed up for the service — a goal of 40 riders, he said, would lead to a cost of zero for Mountain House.

“It’s an option we should take,” Su said. “Unless we do it, the route will die.”

Su noted the board previously authorized funds for other community projects that only benefited a few people, such as the cricket club and dog park. He said public transportation was a huge service and that there were 1,000 potential riders who drive to the Bay Area every day from the Mountain House area.

But the majority of the board said the expense was only going to benefit a few residents, and therefore wasn’t an appropriate expenditure.

“Look at the dollars and cents,” director Bernice King Tingle said. “Maximum 55 (riders), and now we have six. We’re asking everyone in Mountain House to be responsible to subsidize it. It’s not good for the bulk of the whole community. Not enough people participating.”

In other business

• The board voted unanimously to send residents a short-form survey to obtain feedback on community services, such as water and sewer utilities, graffiti abatement and road maintenance.

No date has been chosen by staff as to when it will be sent out.

In 2011, a four-page survey was sent to residents, but Su said the results were inconclusive.

Su said it did not allow staff to measure successes and failures, and he suggested a single-page survey with a simple numbered rating system for each category.

“This simplifies, focuses and measures the performance of the district,” Su said.

The survey will not contain questions regarding community events, as director Jim Lamb initially suggested. Instead, a separate questionnaire will be available at community events for immediate feedback.

Results of the survey are expected to be presented to the board in April.

• Steven Gutierrez took the oath of office as the newest member of the district board, replacing former Director Jass Singh, who was recalled in the Nov. 6 election. He will serve the remainder of Singh’s two-year term.

“I’m excited,” Guterrez said at the conclusion of the meeting. “I know the other board members as neighbors. It seems very positive. We work quite well together.”

Gutierrez was joined by Su, King Tingle and Lamb, who were sworn in to four-year terms after winning re-election in November.

Director Celeste Farron was voted by the other directors as board president, and Lamb was voted vice president.

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or
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