Metro will take some time and get some feedback before settling on the language for its November referendum.
Metro Chairman Gilbert Garcia on Thursday laid out for the board what he called a “tight time frame” for a possible November 6 voter referendum on the future of General Mobility Program.
According to the plan, community meetings would be held through July 21 with any proposed options from board members submitted for analysis by staff at the July 26 meeting. That would leave the board with an Aug. 17 date for approving the wording on the ballot and calling for an election, just ahead of the Aug. 20 legal cutoff date.
“It is critical. It is vital. I think we all know the backdrop that we are facing,” Garcia said.
Recently, Garcia has called for the GMP to be frozen at 2014 levels with the agency retaining any increases in revenues for use on mass transit concerns. However, in asking board members for more options, it appears there is still a consensus to be reached.
Several multicity mayors have already voiced opposition to the freeze proposal and hired a lobbyist to oppose the move. They say their cities depend on the money for street maintenance, and losing the funds would be unfair since the 23 area cities that don’t belong to Metro can retain that penny of sales tax.
During the meeting, board member Christof Spieler said the general mobility payments amounted to a “massive subsidy” to at least some of the participating entities.
You can see the Chairman’s Report to the Metro board with the proposed schedule here. There will be community meetings through July 21, and ballot language will be selected on August 3. See here for the context on Spieler’s remark. I support freezing the GMP – I’d be fine with reducing it as well, but I daresay freezing it is the best Metro will get. I’ll be very interested to hear what kind of feedback they get at those community meetings.