At a public hearing this afternoon, Metro released additional details about how it plans to cut this year's budget by $431 million.
George Greanias, Metro's president, talked again about the plan to save money by removing printers from the agency's downtown headquarters, and he added that an additional $28,000 will be saved by cutting "plant maintenance" out of the budget.
Like ferns and stuff. Inside the building. No one's going to come in and take care of those.
This might seem like small stuff, but Greanias said he highlight these changes to show that Metro is taking a more finessed approach to cutting the budget, as opposed to tearing apart the entire agency.
Perhaps the biggest change, which is sure to make a few Metro execs unhappy, is cutting company cars for anyone who doesn't use it daily for Metro business. John Sedlak, for example, Metro's Executive Vice President, is giving up his car.
On top of that, Metro's "senior management" has to start taking the bus or light rail 40 times a month. For the average citizen who depends on Metro for daily commutes, 40 times might not be that much, but for a Metro manager, we're guessing that's a lot of public transportation.
"[The savings are] not the world's largest amount, but it says we are a transit agency," Greanias said after the meeting. "I don't know of any business that can succeed without using its own product. We can't be selling Dial soap and using Palmolive."
Gilbert Garcia, Metro's board chairman, expects the board to officially approve the proposed budget at a meeting tomorrow morning.
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Today's meeting was a public hearing, but only six people spoke to the board, and about half of those people used the meeting as a forum to protest light rail construction in their neighborhoods.
One woman, however, who praised Metro's bus system, came all the way to the meeting just to ask why Metro won't advertise on its buses.
This issue seems to be one of the few things that Garcia and Greanias disagree about. Greanias says the No Advertising principal dates back to the origins of Metro, saying that ads on buses or rail cars could take away from Metro's brand.
Garcia said he's "very interested in it."