Considering that the City Council rejected a $15,000 funding increase from Kellogg-Hubbard library last week, it's unlikely that the council will go along with $40,000 for the circulator bus.
Even last year's City Council, which included the far-less fiscally conservative Mayor Mary Hooper and City Councilor Nancy Sherman, they didn't want to keep funding the circulator bus. But GMTA was able to get the necessary signatures to put the item on the ballot and voters approved it.
Representatives from Green Mountain Transit Agency are expected to attend tonight's meeting to make their case to keep the fare-free bus running in Montpelier.
When the bus first started running July 2011, less than 700 people rode it that month. According to GMTA's data, nearly 2,000 people rode the circulator this past October.
If the City Council denies GMTA's request to put the $40,000 funding request on the ballot, the organization can, and likely will, gather the necessary signatures to have their request put on the Town Meeting Day ballot.
Last year the voters approved a ballot item to double the number of required to request money from voters on Town Meeting Day. Rather than 5 percent of registered voters, now organizations need 10 percent, or 639 valid signatures.
Also on the City Council agenda is general discussion about the city's budget.
At this point in the budget season, if the library and GMTA seek ballot petitions, and they both pass on Town Meeting Day, the city's property tax increase will be about 2.7 cents on the municipal side of the tax rate.
City Manager William Fraser's proposed budget, which doesn't include the library increase or the circulator bus funding, is calling for a 2 cent property tax increase. The library and the circulator add about 0.7 cents.
Now include the school budget increase, anticipated to be about 5 cents, and as the budgets sits today, Montpelier taxpayers are looking at nearly an 8 cent property tax increase.
On a home valued at $220,000, that's a yearly property tax increase of $176 a year. That's if the homeowner isn't income sensitive on the school side.
And the budget season isn't over yet, so these numbers likely will change.