HUNTLEY – Grafton Township officials have given nearby Rutland Township an ultimatum regarding Grafton’s ongoing effort to shed a portion of the $80,000 spent to operate its bus service.
Rutland officials would either have to contribute $24,000 by Nov. 30 to help fund the service or risk leaving many Rutland riders who use it with no public transportation option.
Grafton Supervisor Jim Kearns questioned Rutland officials’ commitment to their constituents after he initially approached the Rutland Township Board about a funding deal in August that was rejected.
Rutland Township officials say they are looking into other options.
“They can [pay]. They just don’t want to,” Kearns said. “They do not want to help their people. That’s the appearance I got from all of the statements that they make. They don’t care about their people.”
Nearly 57 percent of the more than 4,100 seniors and disabled residents who use Grafton’s bus service belong to Rutland, primarily within the township’s Sun City Huntley population, he said.
The Grafton Board will vote Oct. 21 to cut the service off to Rutland riders. The shutdown would go into effect Nov. 30. The lag time is meant to give Rutland more time to consider paying toward the service, Kearns said.
But Rutland has no plans on changing its stance regarding Grafton’s bus offer, Rutland Supervisor Margaret Sanders said. Instead, the Kane County township is researching alternatives that would provide public transportation to all of its residents, not just the ones in Sun City.
“We have to provide service to the whole township and not just that specific part of the township,” Sanders said. “[Kearns] is adamant that he would run his buses only in Sun City.”
Rutland’s immediate alternative would be Kane County’s “Ride in Kane” program. More than 15 local governments in Kane County have paid to use the service, which is managed between the local government and Pace Suburban Bus, according to the county’s website.
Launched in 2008, the service provides on-call, 24-hour service to eligible seniors and disabled residents. Fares start at $3.50 for the first 10 miles and then $1.50 a mile after that point.
Sanders said the Rutland Board could vote on whether to participate in the program during its Oct. 8 meeting.