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08-18-1998 ADA Advisory Board Meeting Minutes August 18, 1998 Board Members Present: Dorothy Powers, Ceasar Rodriguez, Ramon Armendariz, Bob Evans, Larry Sharp, Kathe Stark Board Members Absent: Andrea Peters, Tomas Mendez, Others Present: Orasa Vaught, Patrick Maestas Larry Sharp, Acting Chair, called the meeting to order at 4:05 p.m. Introductions Elect a Chair Larry asked for volunteers to assume the role of Chairperson. Dorothy nominated Ramon. Ramon agreed to serve in this capacity. Bob Evans seconded the motion. No further discussion heard, the motion passed unanimously. Approval of July minutes Larry asked if there were any additions, corrections, edits to the July minutes. None heard. Bob Evans made a motion to accept the minutes as presented. Second by Ramon. No further discussion heard, the motion passed unanimously. Larry expressed that the minutes were exceptional. There was a tremendous amount of discussion and information presented last month and the minutes accurately reflected the meeting. Other board members agreed. Kathe thanked the board for this compliment. Update on the meeting with the Mayor/Manager. Larry and Ceasar provided an update on their meeting with the City Manager and Mayor last Thursday at 11:00 a.m. They framed the discussion in terns of how the board can assist the Council in knowing more about and responding to the ADA needs within the community and any concerns the Council may having regarding ADA. The Mayor focused on the G.O. Bond issue and what the board could put together to encourage support of it. Larry reported there was a bond committee meeting that same evening that he was not able to attend because of work obligations, but Ceasar had attended and is a member of the resident committee. Mr. Nava was anxious for the board to call people they know and gather support for the bond issue. The Mayor encouraged board members to get out and speak on the bond issue and Ceasar provided a list of dates, times and locations already established for presentations to community groups by the steering committee and the City Public Information Officer. The Mayor also stressed the need to stress the importance of the bond issue and the benefits it would yield for the entire community. Larry added that it is important for the board to present ADA information and be able to respond to questions from the Council and requested a work session to do so. The Mayor's opinion was that the Council is focused on the bond and the ADA portion of it and with the time shortage for the election, a meeting with the Council would not be possible at this time but may occur after the election. No date or time was established. Ramon asked what would happen to the ADA improvements if the bond is defeated. Ceasar stated the board needs to focus on getting the word out about the bond and gather support and suggested the board explore ways to do this, including advertising, speakers bureau, radio and a list of public events they could speak at. Larry reported he had asked the Mayor and Manager for a fact sheet on the bond issue but had not received one yet. Kathe had a draft copy of the fact sheet and Ceasar has a pro's and con's sheet developed by one of the steering committee members. Kathe made copies for all present. Larry reported he shared ideas with the Manager and Mayor on ideas and past experiences with bond issue elections and their success or failure. He emphasized everyone must focus on what you want, why and those who agree to get out the vote versus getting defensive and locked into single arguments with opponents. This is a waste of time and you seldom get converts to your position. The more voters that return their ballots the more opportunity for the bond to succeed. There have already been news articles with negative remarks. Focus on those who have not already entrenched themselves in negativity. Ramon asked again what would happen to the ADA improvements if the bond is defeated and that it is important to stress the importance to the Council. Kathe stated the Council has already committed themselves to this issue by adding the $700,000 to the initial bond issue and that the board needs to focus on convincing the voters, not the Council. Larry agreed. Ramon asked if the board needs a committee to target disabled support groups like the SNCIL, Stroke Survivors Group, etc. Dorothy stated there are many at the SNCIL to support Thelma in her issue with home care and asked if the board couldn't do the same thing on the bond issue. Dorothy volunteers to get a name and address list of consumers and telephone them to encourage bond support. Larry stressed the importance of not wasting time selling to the wrong people. Unfortunately, it is a fact that many people with disabilities are not registered to vote, therefore spending lots of time trying to get consumers to support the issue, the board should focus on the broader community. Dorothy agreed. Bob stated he would address the TRESCO direct care staff, who are registered and encourage support but not clients because most are not registered to vote. Larry suggested that at a later time, the board could launch an effort to get clients to vote. Larry is handing out information on the bond at the DABCC but needs to exercise care as an employee. Kathe relayed information from the bond steering committee about writing letters of support to the editors of the newspapers; the schedule of Neighborhood Meetings. Motion: Larry made a motion that: The board put together a public statement in support of the bond issue and its benefits for the entire community,particularly the ADA sections, and that that letter be submitted to the editors of both newspapers. Second by Ceasar. No further discussion heard, the motion passed unanimously. Motion: Larry made a motion that: The board develop and implement a plan intended to promote the public statement of support (above). Bob seconded. No further discussion heard, the motion passed unanimously. Ramon asked who would volunteer to draft the public statement. Larry recommended someone develop a draft and get input from each board member. Dorothy volunteer to obtain each member's input and draft a letter by Thursday of this week. Motion: Ramon nominated Dorothy to act as coordinator of the public statement. Larry seconded. No further discussion heard, the motion passed unanimously. Bob provided Dorothy with his direct-dial number(528-5233) and Larry provided his e-mail address (lsharp@nmsu.edu). Kathe recommended that the board discuss how they will implement providing public support. Dorothy recommended submitted letters to the editor-both Sun News and Bulletin. Ceasar stated that the Mayor had mentioned something about the newspaper but he can" remember. Kathe informed the board of the steering committee's efforts to obtain names of persons endorsing the bond issue for publication in newspaper ads they will be securing. Ceasar said that was the point the Mayor made. Jed Fanning chairs the steering committee and the board could contact him with their endorsement at 521-6803. Bob asked what percentage of the bond is for ADA. Kathe reported that $700,000 for facilities is all ADA but the board should remember that the flood control and traffic improvement projects contain a large portion of sidewalk and curb ramp improvements that are not broken out in terms of cost. A total of 16 miles of new sidewalks and 200 curb ramps will be completed if the bond succeeds. Larry asked if there is any money for PSA's. Kathe reported the board should coordinate with the steering committee reminding everyone the City cannot spend public money to promote the issue. Ramon asked if the board should post a public notice of support in various locations,but recognized most people won't read more than a line or two. Kathe emphasized the important of speaking at neighborhood meetings and other civic organizations rather than posting notices. KRWG may be willing to do a PSA at no cost specifically on disability issues. Both Bob and Dorothy agreed to network with other human service agencies in the City. Patrick asked if the materials needs to be bilingual to reach the entire community. Larry reported that the Mayor realized bilingual information was needed and the City Public Information Office is developing the brochure in Spanish. Larry asked if ASL interpreters are available for the neighborhood meetings. Kathe reported that each flier and advertisement contains an invitation to request reasonable accommodations and both a voice and TTY number to make such requests. If a request is received for ASL, a qualified interpreter will be provided. One request for an accommodation was received and is being addressed for Councilor Haltom's meeting tomorrow. Mike Noonchester presentation of Transit Study & Update on Federal Funding and State. Kathe introduced Mike Noonchester back to the group, following his presentation last month, to discuss the questions raised by the board and other participants of the meeting and provide an overview of the regional transit study. In response to the question last month about transit service to the Community of Hope, Mike reported that the bus currently goes in only one direction and riders need to cross the street to get to the Community of Hope. Mike has met with Julia McClendon to discuss a study of persons using that facility. Transit is looking for a new transfer site to facilitate service. The current location at Jewel Osco on El Paseo and Wyatt is dangerous because riders have to walk between buses and cars to make their transfers. If the location can't change, transit will go to a 30-minute schedule to provide more convenient and two-way service. Mike also explained the route from the Community of Hope to Motel Boulevard. There is two-way service from Amador. Bob said reversing the route would work. Ramon raised the issue of the bus service on Valley and the Greyhound Depot, which requires persons to cross a 4-lane busy road. Particularly concerned visiting persons from Alamorgordo with visual disabilities and questioned why the route could not be reversed. Larry reported that within 10 years Greyhound will have with comply and provide reasonable accommodations. Mike discussed his efforts to develop an inter-modal transit center where local and carriers like Greyhound could co-exist and provide more convenient and safe transfers from one system to another. Federal funds for such efforts are available. Would need to locate a site and resolve political governance issues related to site management. In the long-term, Mike may ask the board for support for this concept. Larry asked whether the site would be centralized. Mike responded that it remains unresolved whether such a location would be in the center of the older city or into the newly expanded and growing area in the area of Telshore, Lohman, Foothills. Bob stated centralized service and not location should be the priority. Mike used NYC World Trade Center as a success story example with the inter-modal transit center is within walking distance to work and shopping. Access like these would be a factor in site selection. Larry asked if there is competition from El Paso for service to the lower valley or Sunland Park with El Paso `wanting to do for us." Mike stated this is the perfect lead into the discussion of the Regional Transit Study. The study was funded by a Senate Memorial passed by Fernando Macias and Cynthia Nava to explore transit needs and issues in this portion of the state. As a result of this funding, the state Transportation Department was directed to work with us on the study. The Goals were: • Explore the needs for public transportation. • What would satisfy any needs identified • What would be the costs associated with satisfying any identified needs • How to manage provision of broader transit services. LKC Consulting was awarded a contract based on a competitive bid process. LKC, out of Houston has done extensive work in the area of transit needs analysis and identifying funding sources. The study revealed that Dona Ana County has: • Twice the state average on poverty indices. • Twice the state average on senior growth patterns. • Twice the state unemployment rate. • Larger family sizes • No or poor cars • Income averaging $15,000, with the cost of operating a car at $500 per year. The study also revealed invisible costs to the community related to these transportation issues: • State is number one in traffic fatalities. • EPA air quality mandates in areas such as Sunland Park and the potential for a mandate in Las Cruces. • Uninsured motorist costs. During the course of the study, executive interviews were conducted with many political leaders within the county area. Many were unaware of an unsympathetic to the transit issues due to the cost of operating transit services. Transit never pays for itself from the fare box. Public transportation requires subsidizing by all local areas. The state provides no direct funding of transit services like other states. The City of Las Cruces dedicates the fuel tax but the General Fund must still contribute resources. The conclusion of the study recommended the following: • Focus on the transit needs of the elderly, disabled and low income within several areas in the County. • Provided a limited flex-route to meet the basic needs of services to areas like Hatch, 2 days per week. Flex-routes permit deviation from a fixed route to pick up persons with special needs who call in advance in lieu of paratransit. Mike reported both he and I had concerns about accessing several areas with a bus where the roads are narrow and dirt. Mike reported that on-site visits would be necessary if a request for pick-up service was received. • Daily trips from Sunland Park to El Paso, noting for shopping most go to El Paso while for social service they must come to Las Cruces. • Other service has been proposed but we're running out of time. For governance for regional transit, it was suggested that a Joint Powers Agreement could be utilized to create an managing authority and is allowed by state law. Roadrunner would be the likely authority since it is already established and experienced in providing transit services. The recommendations have been made to Sunland Park, Mesilla, Hatch and the County Commissions and was well received. A presentation to the City Council has not yet been coordinated. On the question of benches and shelters, Roadrunner's normal federal funding can fund such amenities. There are currently a few benches and no shelters other than those at Jewel Osco on Wyatt. In this part of the country, sun is a real health issue, however development issues exist such as sidewalks constructed directly next to the curbs without a parkway. In addition, areas of the city without sidewalks will have sidewalks when private developers construct a building on the property. A potential exists to work with private owners and developers to plan for benches and shelters before actual construction. An example will be the new stripe center on Espina and University where an easement is required and transit can use that for benches and/or shelters. Mike intended to look at changes in service first and then review the issues of shelters and benches. The City Council does have a cap on transit expansion at this time. Federal funding will go up from $500,000 to $880,000 in two years and that will allow for some flexibility. Dial-A-Ride Responding to questions/issues raised last month, Mike explained how Dial-A-Ride works. Dial-A-Ride operates the same hours and days as fixed-route service. According to the ADA, paratransit service is only required to extend 9 blocks either side of the fixed route to provide alternative transportation to persons with disabilities. Roadrunner extends their paratransit service to anywhere within the City limits. The City has merged its senior transportation and ADA paratransit service. The majority of senior who use the system under the senior provisions would also likely qualify as "disabled"under the ADA, however senior transportation services on paratransit are free because it is subsidized by the Area Agency on Aging. There is a 24-hour call ahead requirement for paratransit services and Roadrunner tries to remain flexible and work with residents in need of services. Currently the system is over subscribed. The ADA does not allow for subscriptions in excess of 50% of capacity. Last year the City, with the review and approval of this board, passed a policy on subscription service which has been implemented. This does create difficulties for some individuals, for example, a student who needs to be to class every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday may be refused subscription service because of capacity limitations. Roadrunner does try and work with these clients and will pick people up on the spot when they can. The City, with review and approval of this board, also implemented a No-Show Policy. (Both of these policies are already in your binder of meeting minutes.) Larry asked if the same eligibility criteria are used for seniors and disabled. Mike said no. To be eligible for senior transportation services the individual must be 60 years of age and age is the only criteria. For ADA the criteria include: Inability to use a fixed route due to disability or lack of accessible vehicles; service for persons with temporary disabilities; and having an impairment that prevents the person from getting to and from a bus stop. If seniors use the fixed-route system their cost is $.25. There is definitely a preference among senior to use the paratransit service due to convenient pick-up and cost. There are currently 3 accessible fixed-route buses but regular paratransit customers still prefer paratransit service. Mike reported currently providing 200 trips each day and the need for another dispatcher to cover earlier hours. Bob asked if Mike has considered using an RSVP volunteer to additional dispatch capabilities. Mike replied that was a possibility, however the new computerized system requires a great deal of training for proficiency. Larry asked if drivers get the word early in the morning if someone has cancelled a scheduled trip. Mike reported that often they do not because they leave the garage at 6:00 a.m. before office staff is in. Bob asked if there are plans for Sunday service. Mike said no. Sundays are slow within the industry and he will focus on current days of service and ways to improve. Larry asked if he monitors requests for service. Mike replied he had only one request in two years for Sunday service and receives many more for evening service and service to areas not currently served. Mike briefly discussed the Welfare-to-Work initiatives and available grant funding. It may be Dial-A-Ride could be used for a"guaranteed ride home" for these individuals and, if funding would allow, additional paratransit service in the evening hours could piggy-back onto the program. It is unclear whether or not funding sources would find that acceptable. Ramon asked if Mike has received a State interpretation on the 5310/5311 funding issue. Mike reported he has not received the application yet,but had received two updates to the timing of proposals. He asked for a little time to complete review of his mail following a week of vacation. Update on the bid package for ADA improvements. Kathe reported that Monday, August 17, 1998, the City Council approved the contract to begin the ADA improvements at Meerscheidt, City Office Center and Young Park. Improvements will include: 1. The front counter at Meerscheidt; 2. The north restrooms and restroom shower areas at Meerscheidt; 3. The first floor restrooms at the City Office Center; and 4. Young Park restroom The fourth item included in the request for bids was the lower level ramp at the City Office Center exiting the elevator. The cost for this item alone was $22,000 and exceeded funding available. The cost of the improvements to be completed under this contract is $62,940. Construction should commence shortly. Motion: Larry made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Dorothy seconded. No further discussion heard. Motion passed unanimously. Kathe reminded everyone of the two Neighborhood Meeting this week. Meeting adjourned at 6:05 p.m. Respectfully submitted, Kathe Stark, M.S. ADA Coordinator Attachments NOTICE OF PUBLIC MEETING ADA Advisory Board The monthly meeting of the City of Las Cruces ADA Advisory Board will hold its monthly meeting as follows: Date: Tuesday, September 15, 1998 Time: 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Location: Branigan Memorial Library, Dresp Room, First Floor If you need an accommodation to attend and participate in this Board meeting, please contact the City ADA Coordinator at least 48 hours in advance at 528- 340IN or 528-3701/TTY. 9 .J d 12 ox sp e00 -fir eA-P<jCt N C L l C c s Put WA i 3 3 #3; 1 i t JM { i v_ MEMNON Facts on the City of Las Cruces G.O. Bond • Flood control projects, valued at $12.7 million, are EI Molino, South Mesquite Street and Texas Street, Oro Vista Pond and Outlet, Posse Creek Drainage System, Dona Ana Road Reconstruction and Solano Avenue Widening Project. • Street improvement projects, valued at $4.25 million, are the Lohman Avenue Extension, Mesquite Street Reconstruction and Missouri Avenue Reconstruction. The streets that will be improved collectively carry more than 35,000 cars per day. • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) facility improvements, totaling $700,000, will target high public use areas such as ballfields, swimming pools, City Council Chambers, rest rooms, emergency exits and parking lots. Disabilities affect one in four persons in the United States. • Bond projects will build about 16 miles of new sidewalks and 200 ADA curb ramps. • Bond projects will reduce the flood impact to more than 1,800 homes and more than 100 businesses, most of which are located in the city's older neighborhoods. • The city's street maintenance fund contains only $334,000 this budget year for capital improvements. The magnitude of the city's needed projects exceeds these available resources. • The city's flood control fund usually can fund about $500,000 for capital improvements. Again, this won't cover the expense of large projects that the community needs. • The City of Las Cruces has grown about 16 percent since 1990. Today the city's population is estimated to be about 77,800. Las Cruces is one of the fastest growing Metropolitan Statistical Areas in the United States. • The city is holding its first mail-in ballot election in an effort to improve voter participation. The last bond election in Las Cruces drew only 21 percent of the city's registered voters. The cities of Rio Rancho and Roswell recently conducted mail-in elections and both reported about a 40 percent voter turnout. • Passage of the bond will result in new property taxes amounting to $4.06 per month or $48.74 per year for owners of homes valued at $50,000. Owners of homes valued at $100,000 will pay $8.12 more per month or $97.48 per year. Look for your ballot in the mail during the first week of September. Election Day is Sept. 22.