City Council Work Session - Minutes

Mon., Aug. 8, 2016

Mayor Drotzmann called the work session meeting to order at 6:00 pm. Present were Councilors Myers, Primmer, Hardin, Beas-Fitzgerald, Gutierrez, Davis and Smith. Staff members in attendance were City Manager Byron Smith, City Attorney Gary Luisi, Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan, City Planner Clinton Spencer, Chief Edmiston, Bill Schmittle, Ron Sivey, and Heather LaBeau. News media present was Jade McDowell of the East Oregonian.

CTUIR Fixed-Route Transit

Assistant Manager Mark Morgan and J.D. Tovey, the Tribal Planning Director, presented the options for transportation within the city.   In January the city met with Mr. Tovey and started looking at options outside of Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) funding.  The Dial-A-Ride system was considered.  ODOT feels that a fixed route system is more efficient at serving more people in Hermiston than a Dial-A-Ride system.  January 2nd is the targeted start date for the Fixed Route system.  The taxi ticket program will still be available.

There are numerous planning and legal requirements to start a regional transit system.  The CTUIR has the experience and staff to do the reporting and coordinating of services among other jurisdictions.  Partnering with CTUIR, dollars that the City currently spends on the taxi ticket program could be better leveraged with federal funding.   This would create a higher rate of service to the citizens.

Assistant Manager Morgan proposes a committee be created for a 5 month duration.  The committee would be made up of two councilors, a planning commissioner, current taxi ticket program representative, senior care facility/medical provider representative, Chamber of Commerce representative and a member from the general public.  Their purpose would be to meet with CTUIR and the City to go over what the transit system would look like and how to implement it.

Mr. Tovey answered questions from the councilors.  The state and federal reporting would be completed by CTUIR.  The existing routes are on-time almost all the time.  The bus service includes paratransit for qualified disabilities.  The buses have bike racks.  The hours of operation, routes, and costs are all scalable and have not been decided.  Riders are not currently charged a fare.  The drivers are trained for security situations that may arise and all the buses are equipped with cameras.   The jurisdiction the bus is in when an incident occurs determines what law enforcement agency responds.   The MOU is enforceable and would be reviewed by legal counsel.  CTUIR would want the contract for a minimum of two years, as that is the funding cycle for grants.  The committee should include discussion on shuttles to the fairgrounds.  The route design would include conversations with ODOT for traffic safety considerations. 

Several councilors expressed interest in serving on the committee.  Mayor Drotzmann will make appointments for that committee. 

Mayor Drotzmann ended the work session at 6:58 pm. The Councilors took a short break before the regular City Council meeting convened at 7:00 pm.

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