A showdown is looming between a pair of neighboring townships over a shuttle bus service Grafton Township extended to Sun City seniors living in Rutland Township.
Although 58 percent of the rides within the past year were taken by Rutland Township residents, its officials have not offered to compensate Grafton Township for the cost.
While Rutland Township Supervisor Margaret Sanders is willing to discuss the issue, she isn't sure the board can contribute financially.
Grafton Township Supervisor James Kearns says Rutland's free rides are over. He's giving its officials until November to give an answer on requested financial assistance. If the money is not forthcoming, Kearns says he'll cut service to Rutland's Sun City seniors.
"We can't possibly continue to service a different township without them contributing, so at some point if they don't contribute toward that, our township has got to be fiscally responsible to our taxpayers and cut it loose," Kearns said. "I mean it's been a free ride for them for so many years so it's time for them to cough it up."
The shuttle takes Grafton and certain Rutland riders to the Huntley Outlet Mall, stores on Randall Road, Centegra Hospital in Woodstock and various locations within the village and township.
The service costs about $80,000 a year, and even with Huntley officials contributing $10,000 annually, Grafton is expected to run a $67,000 deficit, Kearns said.
The average cost per round-trip ride is $33.50, and the township charges between $2 and $6 per person depending on the destination, Kearns said. Last year, about 2,250 riders used the shuttle, and Kearns wants Rutland officials to contribute $24,000 a year.
Sanders said the board is willing to discuss the issue in September and look for grants to help financially.
"The board has decisions to make on what we're going to do," Sanders said. "We need to gather more information, but it's pretty obvious we can't be part of Grafton's (service) because we can't provide service to all of the township. You can't give part of the township transportation without giving to the whole township."