bart_generic.jpgBART expects to balance its budget for the next fiscal year despite the difficult economy, staff members told directors at their meeting on Thursday.

Robert Umbreit, the transit agency’s operating budget manager, said, “BART is in fairly decent fiscal condition and we’re projecting a positive result” for the current fiscal year that ends June 30.

However, he said it’s too early to tell how much of a surplus BART will have.

Umbreit said preliminary projections indicate that fiscal 2012, which begins in July, will also be a positive year.

He attributed BART’s respectable fiscal condition to efforts to reduce expenses and recent increases in ridership and sales tax revenues.

BART’s ridership had declined for 19 consecutive months because of the recession but started improving last August and ridership increased by 3 or 4 percent in January and February, Umbreit said.

One problem area is overtime costs, which are $7 million over what had budgeted, Umbreit said. He attributed that partly to a decision by BART officials not to fill job openings created by attrition.

Carter Mau, BART’s executive manager of budget and planning, said staff will present a formal budget proposal to the board of directors in the near future.

He said the purpose of the budget presentation on Thursday was to help directors begin determining their spending priorities for the next fiscal year.

Jeff Shuttleworth, Bay City News

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