Grafton Township voted unanimously to terminate bus service to Rutland Township's senior and disabled residents Monday, a move that squarely puts the ball back in Rutland's court.
As part of the vote, Grafton would be willing to reinstate the bus service to Rutland at any time if someone comes forward to pay for the service.
Rutland officials would also have to show they have created a budget for the service and initiate an intergovernmental agreement, Grafton Township Supervisor James Kearns said.
As it stands now, the service is due to end Nov. 30 for the 130 Rutland Township senior and disabled riders in the Huntley portion of Sun City who ride the bus. They are expected to receive a letter this week notifying them of the change.
"Nothing seems to have happened down there," Kearns said of Rutland's leadership. "We've given them the deadline of Nov. 30, and it doesn't look like anything's going to happen."
Rutland Township Supervisor Margaret Sanders meanwhile, isn't sure what decision, if any, her board will reach.
"It's on the agenda again for the November meeting, and I don't have any other ideas for what to do," Sanders said. "Mr. Kearns has made a proposal (to keep the bus service) and I have looked into Ride in Kane and there really aren't any other ideas presented, so I wish we could just have a vote on it and move forward. That's what I'm hoping for in November, but I'm not very confident that they will approve any funds for busing."
Monday, the Grafton board also terminated the intergovernmental agreement with Huntley in which the village paid Grafton $10,000 a year to offset the rides to and from Rutland. As a result, Grafton will return the unused $5,800 to Huntley.
Since 2007, Grafton buses have also 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 transport one part of the subdivision and ignore the other, so it extended the service, at no cost to Rutland.
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.
Earlier this month, Kearns reduced the figure to $14,400 a year and offered to get the remaining $9,600 from fare hikes on Rutland riders. But Rutland board members are holding off on the issue until next month.
Grafton's board members say budget woes and Rutland's inaction to help subsidize the service forced them to cut the free rides to Rutland residents. Monday, Grafton Trustee Dan Ziller Jr. suggested his colleagues hold off on eliminating the service until seeing whether Rutland would be willing to pay the actual cost of the rides, which amounts to $33.50 per ride.
But Grafton Trustee Joseph Holtorf said that suggestion should come from Rutland.
"You've got to keep the monkey on their back," Holtorf said. "We don't want to keep the monkey coming back here in this room -- we've had the monkey in here too long now. Six years. And I calculated we've spent almost $200,000 in the last six years floating those people. So I think it's time to pull the plug ... and that's the end of the monkey."
Service: Rutland Twp. officials set to vote on funds next month