While Grafton Township officials plan to cut bus service for Rutland Township's senior and disabled riders after Saturday, they are hopeful Huntley leaders pick up the slack in the form of a taxi service.
"I have, unfortunately, nothing definitive at this time to report, but we are still exploring alternatives, one of which is talking to a local taxi company," Huntley Village Manager Dave Johnson said, adding he should have an answer about that Wednesday.
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At the same time, Huntley's youngest trustee has made a proposal to keep the bus service going for awhile. Huntley Trustee Nick Hanson, 34, suggested the village pay Grafton $24,000 to keep the service in place for a year. The village is working on its budget and Hanson is hopeful officials can find the money.
"Being under the gun right now ... we've got to figure out a way to keep the service going," Hanson said.
This action comes days before Grafton drops service to neighboring Rutland Township. Grafton cut Rutland off due to budget considerations and Rutland's decision not to pay $24,000 a year for the service. Grafton extended service in 2007 at no cost to Rutland because the Huntley residents it serves live in both Grafton and Rutland townships. Rutland offers no transportation service of its own.
Huntley had been contributing $10,000 to Grafton toward paying for the 130 Rutland riders, but Grafton terminated that partnership in October when the township board voted to cut service to Rutland.
There's about $5,800 in unused funds remaining from Huntley's $10,000, which Grafton Township Supervisor James Kearns plans on returning this week. He's hopeful Huntley will use it to temporarily hire a taxi service for Rutland's senior and disabled ridership until officials come up with a permanent answer.
"We cut the check this morning," Kearns said Tuesday. "It buys them more time."
Huntley leaders asked Kearns to keep the money to maintain the bus service in Rutland, but Kearns refused.
"The village of Huntley can use that (money) more effectively using it with the taxi service, because it's just a temporary fix for them," Kearns said. "We need a long-term fix for Grafton Township. We're done. We have to be."