by Jennifer Sierra
Bellevue, Kentucky council members met last night to discuss their budget needs for the upcoming fiscal year. The Red Bike program has received a lot of comments both for and against it within the community. The council members reflected those sentiments in the discussion.
Council member Ryan Salzman requested the city consider matching funds with fundraising efforts. Council Member Matt Olliges said he would like to see one located on Ward at the East end of town. Council member Dave Slater said, “Someone riding a bike from Newport isn’t going to do a whole lot of shopping in here and bike enthusiasts already have a bike of their own.”
Council member Steve Guidugli asked Main Street Manager, Jody Robinson what the research was for the impact Red Bike had on communities and their resulting success or failure. Robinson pointed out that the bikes have baskets to hold goods for shoppers during their commute and that many cities already use Red Bike as an alternative means of transportation. She said it is an encouraging thing for visitors to see Red Bike in a city.
When council member Dave Slater asked about the return on investment numbers for Red Bike, Council member Olliges pushed back saying, “This isn’t a calculated return. It is not like adding a garage or parking pad on your house.” Robinson chimed in stating that it is a dynamic for the community. Salzman said, “It is like a park. What is the use of having a park? It is the same idea of culture and families and it is appealing. Even when it isn’t being used, it is appealing.”
To make this happen by the All Star Game, the budget would have to be amended. Guidugli asked that they see how much money could be raised for Red Bike stations through public fundraising. Perhaps enough funds could be raised through public fundraising that the amount the city would have to contribute would be much less than the entire cost of the bike stations which is estimated at $50,000 each.
Council Member Melissa Tatum asked who is responsible for vandalism of the bikes and stations if that happens and Jody Robinson responded, “Red Bike.”
“A lot of people are concerned about how our tax money is being spent,” said Council member Rodney Poynter. Council member Slater said the money would be better spent on the fire and police departments.