Administering the Chippewa Falls Shared Ride Taxi program would be done by the West Central Regional Planning Commission under a recommendation by the city’s Labor Negotiations, Personnel, Policy and Administration Committee.
Committee members C.W. King, Chuck Hull and John Monarski voted in favor of the proposal, which will go to the full City Council. If approved by the council, the regional planning commission would be paid a maximum of $38,000 to operate the program and perform duties such as preparing the program’s budget.
“They will bill us on an hourly basis,” City Planner Jayson Smith said at the committee’s meeting Friday. Smith has overseen the transit program but is retiring in January.
Smith said the city budgets $36,000 for program administrator. “We don’t spend that. I don’t think they will either,” Smith said.
He added his replacement would still be the point person for the transit program, but the agency based out of Eau Claire would run it.
Council President Rob Kiefer said the city’s Revenues Committee on Thursday voted to recommend the agency run the program. “It’s essentially what we budget currently,” Kiefer said, adding after the one-year contract the city could decide to have a city employee to again run the transit program.
Hull and King both said a suggestion has been made that some zoning duties could be taken over by the new city planner.
Paul Lasiewicz, the city’s building inspector, said his office currently is a one-stop operation for someone needing zoning help and a building permit. He said he didn’t know if the city split the zoning duties with the new planner if that would help residents. He said currently departments work together on larger projects. City Engineer-Public Works Director Rick Rubenzer said that typically happens five times a year.
“Why fix something that isn’t broken is the way I look at it,” Monarski said about leaving the system as it is, and Mayor Greg Hoffman also endorsed keeping the current system.
“People compliment Chippewa Falls on the customer service we provide,” Smith said. He added he would be able to provide advice, even after he retires. “I will tell you I’m not planning on going anywhere. I will have my cell phone,” he said.
There are potential major projects in the works, and Jayson Smith said there are two of them. The potential projects aren’t as large as the Mills Fleet Farm distribution center, which is being built in the Lake Wissota Business Park, but would be large.
“This job has morphed into economic development, as you know,” Smith said.