Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Shasta County Grand Jury releases final report

June 30, 2014
By Vienna Montague, Producer

The Shasta County Grand Jury’s final report tackles several topics including the county’s management of code violations and county bus routes.
The grand jury’s investigation said there was a backlog of more than 1,728 marijuana-related building and land use code violations, 611 of which were more than ten-years-old.
Several reasons were cited for the delay.
First, there’s no specific timeline which would lead to a timely follow-up to move cases to conclusion. Secondly, the tracking system doesn’t provide enough information to understand the nature of the violations. Finally, the Board of Supervisors can’t track code enforcement activity because there are no written reports.
The Redding Area Bus Authority, or RABA, was also cited in the report. The grand jury said RABA is unable to keep pace with operating cost increases without increasing ridership, raising rates, cutting services or a combination of all three.
Redding Assistant Director of Public Works Chuck Aukland said ridership has gone up significantly in the last three years, helping to offset the cost.
"Generally, as you move on, operational costs increase,” Aukland said. “And so unless you're increasing your ridership, which increases your revenue, or you're cutting service, then you're necessarily redoing your fare box ratio, because you're not getting as much revenue in as your costs increase."
RABA is also working on some route changes, which customers aren’t so happy about.
“The way the bus routes are now, I think it’s serving the people,” said RABA rider Ginny Williams as she sat waiting for her bus. “But when they go into the new routes that they have coming out, it’s not going to work.”
Another issue plaguing RABA but not specifically cited in the report is a particular stop on Masonic Avenue.
Both riders and the City of Redding said the stop had been repeatedly vandalized, forcing workers to remove the cover and bench, leaving only a sign indicating the stop.
One rider, Lucretia Winfield, pointed out the difficulties of using the bus stop because of the modifications.
“When it rains, people in wheelchairs get stuck in the mud,” Winfield said. “People who are in wheelchairs that are diabetic, they shouldn’t be out in the sun.”
Aukland said other bus stops in Redding don't have benches or cover, however, RABA is considering moving the stop to another location entirely.

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