Huntley has been kind enough to support Grafton Township's senior and disabled bus service by contributing $10,000 toward those efforts, a commitment the village reaffirmed Thursday night in the form of an intergovernmental agreement.
“It's the same philosophy that's been there since day one — to offset some of the costs associated with the riders that come outside of Grafton,” Huntley Village Manager Dave Johnson said, noting the agreement has been in place since 2007.
But now Grafton Township Supervisor James Kearns also wants Rutland Township to show him the money, since 58 percent of the people who ride the shuttle are from Rutland Township's portion of Sun City, he said.
“We shouldn't even be servicing them,” Kearns said. “The Grafton Township residents should be our priority; they're the people paying our taxes in the township. But I will not, at this point, turn my back on the Rutland people.”
It costs Grafton Township $80,000 a year to run the service, which takes riders to the Huntley Outlet Mall, stores on Randall Road, Centegra Hospital in Woodstock and various locations within the village and township.
Riders pay between $2 and $6 per round trip for the service, depending on the distance.
Last year, 2,250 riders used the service, which amounts to 4,500 trips according to Kearns.
Kearns currently is researching grants and other ways to offset the remaining $70,000.
The township also budgeted an extra $15,000 for the buses this year to maintain the fleet, which includes one bus and two vans, Kearns said.
He's also looking to see whether the township could partner with another agency that would be willing to pay for the service.
“We're trying to not leave any stone there is unturned,” Kearns said.
Rutland Township previously had been unwilling to help pay for the service because when former Grafton Township Supervisor Linda Moore approached them for the money, she didn't explain exactly where it was going, according to Rutland Township Trustee Steve Schuldt.
“They just came in here and said, 'Boom, we need some money,'” Schuldt said. “We needed more information to see where it's being spent and how it's being spent.”
But now that there's a new board in Rutland Township, Schuldt said he is willing to revisit his initial denial if the board does a better job at explaining the proposal.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.