CHAMPAIGN — The Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District Board on Wednesday unanimously approved a levy ordinance asking for up to a 4.9 percent increase in property-tax funds next spring.
"That is the maximum amount," said MTD Managing Director Bill Volk. "But it's doubtful we'll be at 4.9 percent. Generally it's significantly under that. But that is the maximum we'd be able to levy."
Board Chairman Don Uchtmann called the figure "a largely inflationary increase intended to cover those costs of operations that are inflation-related. There is a modest salary increase (2 percent) that is covered in the budget plus the additional costs of health care and for some expansions in service."
He noted that the cost of an annual pass was increased earlier this year, from $60 to $72.
"I believe that this ordinance will continue our trend of having the non-taxpayer portion of the local share be the larger of the two," he said.
Linda Bauer, another board member, said she had heard from members of the public who were opposed to the $329,000 increase in property-tax revenue.
"Nobody really likes to have their taxes raised but ... I would hope that people who have concerns about the MTD would be willing to learn a little more about the MTD because I think it's one of the best-run systems, if not in the country, then in the state of Illinois," she said. "I think this is money well spent."
Also Wednesday, Volk said the MTD had record ridership in October and November, and that October's total of 1.5 million was an all-time record, surpassing the total of 1.39 million in April 2013. November's total was about 1.2 million, and it was the 15th consecutive month of record ridership.
A one-day ridership record was set Oct. 31 when the MTD had 67,444 passengers.