Townships, like McHenry Township, have no business being in the bus business. Township bus programs are not one of the three state mandated duties of township government. These programs are just another way to get citizens addicted to government services at high public tax cost. Township insiders know this buys votes and support to keep the extra layer of township government on the tax rolls, protecting their jobs and many benefits.
The McHenry Township Senior Bus Program has a taxpayer cost of $300,000. That’s not cheap. It takes takes nineteen percent of the Township Budget to support the program. Of the about 50,000 township residents, only 0.3 percent use the service! There are five buses in the township fleet, at a cost of over $70,000 each, which are replaced every three years with low milage.
Rides do not cost $7.59 per trip. When all costs are factored in, the cost is about $25 one way, $50 round trip. Note: in 2013 one way cost was $19.42. That’s a 28% increase in just five years.
Some of the operating costs are for administration, wages and benefits, insurance, fuel, cell phones, repairs, contractual services and repairs.
Most bus trips are not used for doctor appointments. Last year taxpayers paid for 1,617 trips to the McHenry Township Senior Center, 136 to McHenry Township, 953 trips to 33 different restaurants, 607 trips to four different schools, 499 trips to three different libraries, 143 trips to nine different banks and 727 trips to eight different churches. There were even trips to the McHenry Country Club and Steffens Jewelers. McHenry Township allows those as young as 55 to qualify as a “senior” to get a “free” ride.
McHenry Township’s hard working families live paycheck to paycheck. They are looking for tax relief from anywhere possible. The McHenry Township Board eliminated the McHenry Township Bus Program for tax relief, a good thing.