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Claremont city council needs rest to prepare for hot fall issues

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In addition to the construction, the city prepares for a busy agenda in September. A possible rate increase for the Claremont Dial-A-Ride program is one of the upcoming topics up for council discussion.

The Community and Human Services Commission recommended the fare increase last month after several public hearings on the non-profit organization. The program was sent for commission review by the city council because of its increased popularity and cost. The program has seen its ridership triple in the last 3 years, according to Assistant City Manager Colin Tudor in a report to the council in April. An estimated 78,000 cab rides are expected this year alone.

With the way the program is growing, the city’s designated funds will only be able to maintain the program for the next 2.5 years, according to city officials.

“If we keep the costs where they are at currently, we will have no funds left within 2 1/2 years,” said Claremont Management Analyst Cari Sneed.

The city is recommending an increase to combat the problem before it happens. Though Ms. Sneed contends that no formal recommendation for a price increase has been suggested, riders may see rates double from the present rate. Currently, the general public pays $1.25 for a one-way ride, and seniors and those with disabilities pay $0.75.

The hope is the increase will encourage users to become more conscious of the rides they request, according to George Sparks, administrator of the Pomona Valley Transportation Authority that provides the Dial-a-Ride service.

“It may give someone pause to consider carpooling or using a little shoe leather for the day,” Mr. Sparks said, with the hope that services will be more available for those with no other means of transportation. “We want to make the price more appropriate with the value of service. The goal is to narrow that margin per trip.”

 

Art orchestrator for hire

The council is also looking to hire a consultant to orchestrate the Public Art Master Plan.

The art consultant will be responsible for producing the art master plan, which will give direction for the selection and placement of public art throughout the city. Up to $50,000 has been designated in the city’s 2012-2014 budget to hire a city art consultant responsible for implementing this master plan, which was designated as a key city project at the council’s priority-setting workshop held last December. The goal of the plan is to create a framework for the selection and placement of public art within the city. It would additionally serve to address funding sources, as well as review criteria and decision-making processes.

“The hope is that this master plan will provide a unified community vision, clarify key themes and values, and provide direction on the selection and placement of public art,” said Melissa Vollaro in a previous interview.

A community art program and art ordinance were first adopted by the city in 1997 in an attempt to enhance Claremont’s aesthetics and cultural quality, according to Ms. Vollaro. Public Art Coordinator Francine Baker was hired to carry out the various elements of the art program, which includes tracking the city’s public art inventory, rotating art exhibits and art installations. The city council believes adopting a Public Art Master Plan will more clearly define the process of how this public art is selected and placed in the community.

“It provides opportunities for public exposure to the visual arts and to acknowledge our local artistic community,” she said. “It inspires pride, identity and a sense of place among the rest of the community.”

City officials are required to post the agendas for all general council and commission meetings 72 hours in advance, according to standards of the California Brown Act. View these agendas and other city happenings by visiting www.ci.claremont.ca.us.

—Beth Hartnett

news@claremont-courier.com

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