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updated: 7/16/2013 6:55 PM

Grafton Twp. asking for help with senior bus service

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  • Grafton Township uses this aging bus and two vans to operate its senior bus service. But officials are making moves to bolster the program as well as the bus fleet.

      Grafton Township uses this aging bus and two vans to operate its senior bus service. But officials are making moves to bolster the program as well as the bus fleet.
    Courtesy of Grafton Township

 
 

Grafton Township officials are looking to bolster their senior bus service by seeking help from McHenry County, Pace Suburban Bus Service and Rutland Township residents.

Grafton Township Supervisor James Kearns on Tuesday submitted a grant application to the county in hopes of offsetting the cost of the bus service. If approved, the grant would pay a percentage of the program's operating expenses.

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"I'm applying for as much as I can get," Kearns said, adding that he's hoping for an answer later this summer.

It costs about $118,000 annually for Grafton Township to run the bus service. Kearns initially said it was $80,000 a year, but found a clerical error in a recent audit that omitted $38,000.

Huntley contributes $10,000 toward the program annually, but Kearns is hoping Rutland Township steps up as well.

Last year, 58 percent of the riders came from Rutland Township, but officials there have not made a contribution to the service -- a Rutland Township trustee has said he didn't like the way Kearns' predecessor approached the board for aid several years back, which is why the board didn't offer to help, according to Rutland Township Trustee Steve Schuldt.

Schuldt has said he's willing to reconsider his initial denial if Grafton Township does a better job of outlining what it needs and why.

Kearns plans on making a presentation to the Rutland Township board next month and asking trustees for monetary contribution -- the amount has yet to be determined.

"The Rutland taxpayers should be paying for the Rutland service," Kearns said. The township also agreed to investigate whether Pace could furnish the township with a 12-passenger bus complete with a wheelchair lift. The township's existing bus is six years old and officials have spent $5,000 on its maintenance since April 1, Kearns said.

If things work out, the township would secure the PACE bus by paying an initial $1,000 deposit and a $100 monthly fee thereafter. It would take between three and six months to get the bus, due to the training, drug testing and reporting methodsPace requires.

"We have to implement all of that prior to having a bus," Kearns said.

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