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McHenry Township to consider eliminating senior bus service program at special meeting

Residents voiced concerns at regular board meeting

McHenry Township Trustee Bob Anderson listens as Supervisor Craig Adams runs a special meeting Aug. 23 in Johnsburg.
McHenry Township Trustee Bob Anderson listens as Supervisor Craig Adams runs a special meeting Aug. 23 in Johnsburg.

McHenry Township trustees are considering eliminating the township’s senior bus service program, and they could vote on the matter at a special meeting Tuesday.

Trustees have been discussing the matter as part of the budget process. Some have said the service is duplicating what McHenry County’s “McRide” and Pace buses offer, while others contend that the program is needed.

The township bus provides door-to-door transportation services for seniors and adults with disabilities who live in the township. Riders pay a suggested donation of $2 a ride. The bus goes to places such as Northwestern Medicine hospitals and the McHenry Community Health Center, according to the program’s website.

A discussion – with no action – on the future of the bus program was on the regular board meeting agenda Thursday, but Trustee Bob Anderson called for a special meeting to discuss and vote on the matter before the item was brought up. Trustee Steve Verr seconded the motion, which is all that is required to hold a special meeting.

The move called into question trustees’ intentions.

“It appears that instead of trying to be more transparent, you are trying to huddle in,” resident Carol Perscake said. “[The bus] is not a Cadillac benefit. We have all paid our taxes. ... There are scores of people in this township who wouldn’t be able to get around without that service.”

Resident Dorothea King agreed.

“I don’t understand how a meeting can be announced, held and what was supposed to be discussed isn’t [talked about],” she said.

The net cost of the program – minus revenue such as grants and rider fees – is $189,729 annually. Expenses include payroll, fuel cost, contractual services and insurance, according to township documents.

The service provided 12,572 rides between April 1, 2018, and March 31, according to township documents.

The cost for the program is about $7.68 a property tax bill each year, Township Supervisor Craig Adams said.

The special meeting will be at
7 p.m. Tuesday at the township hall, 3703 N. Richmond Road, Johnsburg.

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