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posted: 10/17/2013 5:32 PM

Most Grafton Twp. trustees support cutting Rutland's free rides

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  • Most Grafton Township officials say they favor cutting bus service to the Sun City portion of Huntley that lies within Rutland Township. Meanwhile, Rutland leaders are no closer to deciding how to serve the roughly 130 seniors and disabled riders who would be affected by Grafton's vote, which is scheduled Monday.

       Most Grafton Township officials say they favor cutting bus service to the Sun City portion of Huntley that lies within Rutland Township. Meanwhile, Rutland leaders are no closer to deciding how to serve the roughly 130 seniors and disabled riders who would be affected by Grafton's vote, which is scheduled Monday.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Margaret Sanders

      Margaret Sanders

  • James Kearns

      James Kearns

 
 

A majority of Grafton Township's board members say they will vote to end bus service for Rutland Township seniors because of that township's inaction to pay for the service.

Grafton's vote is scheduled Monday and service would end Nov. 30 for approximately 130 Rutland riders.

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"It's something that we have to do," Grafton Township Supervisor James Kearns said, adding that he will be voting to cut Rutland off. "The only people who are going to get hurt out of this are the Rutland Township Sun City riders and the majority of them ... do need it."

Rutland Township leaders say they are no closer to resolving the payment issue than they were when it came to the board for a vote last week. In the end, the board asked for more time to research options.

Rutland Township Supervisor Margaret Sanders doesn't expect the board to reach a solution by its Nov. 12 meeting.

"I can't get them to vote on it. It appears none of the trustees are in favor of having any rides for the seniors," Sanders said. "I don't know what they're investigating because it was determined early that no one was in favor of Rutland having our own bus service."

Since 2007, Grafton buses have served Rutland riders living in Sun City, a Huntley subdivision for older adults that lies within both Grafton and Rutland townships. Grafton did not want to serve one part of the subdivision and ignore the other, so it extended the service, at no cost to Rutland.

Grafton's board members said budget woes are leading to the apparent decision to cut the free rides for Rutland residents.

In August Kearns asked Rutland to pay $24,000 a year for the service, a figure he said would help subsidize the service that costs about $80,000 a year. Fifty-eight percent of the riders hail from Rutland.

Last week, Kearns offered to keep the service intact if Rutland paid Grafton $1,200 a month. Grafton would then raise the fares for Rutland residents from $1 to $4 each way to collect the outstanding $9,600, he said.

In a move to supplement Kearns' proposal, Sanders offered to hire Ride in Kane for the seniors and disabled adults not living in Sun City. Sanders said Rutland would pay up to $1,000 a month for those groups so all of Rutland would have transportation.

Rutland Township Trustee Charleen Carlsen said she needs more time to think before committing to a decision. She ran on a slate with several other trustees in which they promised to keep taxes as low as possible.

"It feels like Grafton is pushing Rutland into a corner to bail them out, and I feel we shouldn't take care of just Sun City and not the rest of the township," she said. "I don't think that's fair to the taxpayers."

Grafton Township Trustees Robert Wagner and Joe Holtorf say Rutland has had more than enough time to resolve the issue.

"Rutland needs to decide how they want to manage Rutland," Holtorf said. "I have never seen a group of people that can't make a decision or are unwilling to step up to the plate and do what is right for their community. I find it hard to deal with people like that. There's no sympathy for it."

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