Yorkville OKs transit funds
By Steve Lord email@example.com March 13, 2013 2:52PM
Updated: April 15, 2013 11:27AM
YORKVILLE — City officials are still weeks away from approving a final budget, but aldermen have made it clear they will keep funding Kendall Area Transit whenever a budget is approved.
A unanimous consensus of aldermen taken at this week’s City Council meeting showed that each alderman wants to keep the city’s annual contribution toward KAT — $23,000— in the budget for the coming year.
While each alderman, as well as Mayor Gary Golinski, praised the program and said they intend to keep the funding intact, they added that they hope a new way to fund the program, perhaps with Kendall County assuming the entire cost, could be found.
“I don’t think anyone wants to see it go away,” Golinski said. “But it’s a countywide program, and it should be funded by the entire county.”
He compared the situation to what has happened with funding for KenCom, the county’s emergency dispatch system. The cost for that system was funded by a countywide tax, as well as by Kendall County itself. But in recent years, Kendall County proposed a cost-sharing program that had municipalities and other KenCom jurisdictions pitching in to help pay for operations.
The municipalities fought that for almost two years, saying people living in municipal boundaries were, in essence, paying twice for the service.
“Once again, here’s another program where we’re paying twice,” said Alderman Carlo Colosimo. “If you’re a resident of the (unincorporated) county, you’re only paying once.”
In fact, Colosimo said the only reason he favored keeping Yorkville’s annual contribution in the budget is because the County Board seems to be “getting along” better with the municipalities since it seated five new members last fall.
“I do have faith in our new County Board,” he said.
Golinski said the KAT contribution was only put on the cutting board as a proposal because he told city staff to consider any and all cuts in the 2013-2014 budget. The city faces about a $700,000 deficit in the 2012-2013 budget, which can be covered, but could get worse in the next several budget years.
“I said nothing’s sacred,” Golinski said. “If it’s controversial, we’re going to talk about it anyway.”
He said the city has discussed everything from cutting the police school resource officer – which also will not be cut – to little things, such as turning lights in parks off at night, and getting rid of portable toilets.
The city pays $23,000 toward the KAT service, but there are only about 200 registered riders from Yorkville. But citizens made the point that for those 200 people who need public transit, it is key to them being able to live in Yorkville.
The KAT program can be used by anyone who registers, but it mainly serves seniors, people with special needs and those without cars.
“It picks me up and takes me to work at Target,” one man told aldermen.
Alderman Rose Spears, 4th Ward, said she heard from a woman who moved to Yorkville in December in part because it has the public transit system. The woman also has a daughter who uses it to get to work.
“We’re scaring her out of our community, and I don’t think we want to do that,” Spears said.