Bus issue lingers in Rutland Township

Grafton Township officially axed Rutland's Sun City riders, effective Nov. 30

HUNTLEY – Rutland Township officials still disagree on a bus service for their senior and disabled residents, even after some of their Sun City Huntley residents were officially cut from nearby Grafton Township’s system.

The Grafton Board earlier this week unanimously agreed to end service Nov. 30 to the Rutland riders in Huntley’s retirement community. But the board’s decision left open the opportunity for the service to continue, if Rutland officials decide to fund a portion of Grafton’s $80,000-a-year bus system.

“All indications from Rutland are they don’t seem interested in moving forward. ... At this point in time, as far as we are concerned, we are behind it,” Grafton Supervisor Jim Kearns said.

Kearns first approached the Rutland Township Board in August about funding $24,000 toward Grafton’s bus service. Nearly 57 percent of all the riders for Grafton’s service live in Rutland Township.

Kearns earlier this month revised his offer and asked Rutland to contribute $14,400 annually. In exchange, Grafton would hike Rutland rider fees to cover the remaining $9,600.

But Rutland trustees delayed a vote on Kearns’ proposal and passed on the opportunity to join a Kane County transportation program, which would have provided bus service to Rutland residents outside of Sun City.

The trepidation, Rutland trustees have said, involves the fact that Rutland would have to increase property taxes to pay for long-term bus service.

Despite the resistance, Rutland Supervisor Margaret Sanders plans to take a vote on both proposals when the board meets for a final time Nov. 12 to address the issue.

She said an average Rutland homeowner would see a $2 increase to their township property-tax bill if the board approved Kearns’ proposal and joined the Kane County program.

The average homeowner pays less than $100 on the township portion of his property-tax bill, she said.
“I pay taxes like everyone else, and $2 is not that much,” Sanders said. “That is like stopping to pay for a cup of coffee or donating to a charitable organization.”

If service is cut Nov. 30, Grafton also would return some unspent bus dollars to Huntley, which provides Grafton $10,000 annually for servicing Rutland riders. Grafton would return about $5,800 after the cutoff date, Kearns said.