Councilmember Willie Hailey Sr. was absent at Monday's City Council meeting. Among the matters discussed:

Changes to bus services • Barstow's transportation coordinator, Jason Shaw, listed a series of proposed changes to the Barstow Area Transit that would take place over the next five years. The Barstow Area Transit's five-year plan is the result of a study for the transit system conducted by a team AECOM Transportation, a Los Angeles-based professional technical and management support service. Shaw said the changes were designed to streamline the transit system, making it more efficient.

Shaw said the most dramatic systemwide changes would take place during the first year, pending public hearings. Those changes include implementation of new city routes serving Barstow Community College, the Rimrock Road area and the outlet centers and Lenwood areas, Shaw said. Changes would also include converting the dial-a-ride system serving county areas to county routes that would serve Hinkley, Daggett, Newberry Springs and Harvard. New dispatch software will be implemented. Regular bus fare would also increase from $1.10 to $1.25 beginning Jan. 1, 2010, Shaw said.

Changes to the system during the second year include weekday service to Victorville and Fort Irwin. The transit system would add Saturday service to Victorville and Fort Irwin in the third year.

Community Promotional Fund Policy • After the Barstow High School football boosters requested and were granted $500 by the City Council to offset season costs, City Manager Richard Rowe asked Councilmembers to consider an amendment to the to the Community Promotional Fund Policy to provide that individuals and community organizations submit applications at one time in competition for funds.

In a presentation to the Council, Rowe said the city has $7,300 in its Community Promotional Fund for the fiscal year 2009-10. Each individual or community organization submits a request for Council consideration on a first-come, first-served basis. Once the full amount is awarded applications are no longer considered by city staff, Rowe said.

When Rowe took questions from the Council, Councilmember Timothy Silva mentioned that he read in the agenda item that organizations and individuals usually report back to give Council status of what they had done with the funds. Rowe said that practice had slipped by the wayside. Silva suggested that each organization and individual provide written report to the City Council as to how the funds were used.

Mayor Joe Gomez suggested that the City Council sit down with Rowe and City Attorney Yvette Abich-Garcia to come up with a plan to handle requests for community promotional funds.

City Council renews Desert Manna contract • The City Council voted 3-1 to extend the expiration date of Desert Manna's lease and operating agreement from one year to three years. Desert Manna has leased city-owned property at 209 North First Avenue for the amount of $1 a year to operate a homeless shelter since May 1989. Rowe said the Council has traditionally extended its lease on a yearly basis.

Mayor Joe Gomez cast the dissenting vote, saying that while he is in favor of extending the lease another three years, he has concerns he would like to address with the organization privately.

Introduction to new assistant city manager • City Manager Richard Rowe introduced Martin Piñon to the City Council as Barstow's new assistant city manager. Piñon will begin work on Aug. 10, dealing primarily with human resources and personnel-related issues. His previous job was human resources and risk management director for El Centro.