Will Rutland discussion on senior bus service result in vote?

Updated 11/10/2013 4:51 PM

Rutland Township trustees this week will again discuss whether to offer bus service for its senior and disabled residents, with at least two trustees already saying they're against the plan.

Trustees Charleen Carlson and Steve Schuldt, along with Fred Bulmahn and John Payson, ran on a slate in which they promised not to raise taxes. For the moment, Carlsen and Schuldt don't see themselves wavering from that position.

"I can't justify it right now," Schuldt said. "I'm going to be voting against the busing."

Bulmahn and Payson could not be reached for comment.

The Rutland board is scheduled to meet Tuesday. Township Supervisor Margaret Sanders says she will present two proposals for the board to consider in hopes something gets done.

"I am hoping that we'll have a motion and we'll be able to move forward with busing," Sanders said. "And we'll possibly have a motion and there won't be enough votes to pass it, then at least we can put it to rest. I'm just hoping we make a decision on it."

The board is in a bind because Grafton Township, which shuttled senior and disabled residents from Rutland's portion of Sun City for free since 2007, recently cut the service due to its own budget woes. Sun City, a subdivision for older adults, straddles both Rutland and Grafton. Rutland's inaction resulted in Grafton's vote last month to end service to Rutland. The bulk of the riders hail from Rutland.

Two proposals to solve the stalemate were made. One came from Grafton Township Supervisor James Kearns and involved Rutland paying Grafton $1,200 a month while Grafton raised fares for the Rutland riders from $1 to $4 each way. That would help Grafton collect the $24,000 it wants to keep extending the service to Rutland.

Under a second proposal, Rutland would hire Ride in Kane. a program that partners with Pace Suburban Bus to dispatch vehicles to registered disabled and senior riders for trips within the county.

The issue came up during Rutland's board meeting last month, but trustees deferred taking a vote to better research the proposals.

The last day of service to Rutland is Nov. 30, unless Rutland makes a decision Tuesday to extend it. That would give Grafton time to meet the following Monday and reinstate it. But that all depends on what Rutland does or doesn't do.

"It's in Rutland's court here," Kearns said. "I really feel like the bad guy here, but I'm just the guy that has to pay the bills."

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