The ACC Mayor & Commission are set to vote on a program that will make Athens Transit buses free, year-round, for all Clarke County K-12 students at the August 2016 Voting Meeting. At the Agenda-Setting Session, Commissioner Sharyn Dickerson, District 1, brought up concerns that children couldn’t understand the value of the service if it was free and they had “no skin in the game”.[youtube https://youtu.be/S1y759-sSSU%20&w=600]
(The complete video is available at: http://athensclarkecounty.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=2 )
Athens for Everyone fully endorses this program becoming permanent. A4E believes that services are valuable to residents, especially when they are free and that an exchange of currency is in no way necessary for it to be “valuable”.
Unfortunately, Commissioner Harry Sims has put forward a Commission Defined Option (CDO, which is an alternative option created by a commissioner that can be passed instead of the original proposal) that changed the program from being permanent to being a trial program that would have to be renewed. Sims’ CDO also changed the language from “free” to “fees waived”. Commissioner Kelly Girtz has put forward a CDO that keeps the program permanent and also uses the word “free”. Athens for Everyone supports Commissioner Girtz’s CDO.
“I think it is dangerous for our elected leaders to act like providing services for free is a bad thing”, said Athens for Everyone President Tim Denson, “to assume that residents can’t recognize something as being valuable unless money has been taken from them. What’s next? Our school buses? Our sidewalks?”
The voting meeting will occur on Tuesday, August 2 at 7pm at City Hall. The public is invited to attend and will be given time to speak.by