Yorkville considers pulling out of Kendall bus service
By Steve Lord firstname.lastname@example.org February 18, 2013 11:26AM
Updated: March 22, 2013 6:44AM
YORKVILLE — The city is considering pulling its $23,000 annual contribution to the Kendall Area Transit system.
The proposal to withdraw from the KAT bus service has emerged as part of early city budget discussions. In looking at possible areas to cut costs, city staff identified the contribution to KAT as one area.
City Administrator Bart Olson said staff included the proposal after several aldermen asked about it. KAT serves about 200 regular customers in Yorkville.
“I think the general feeling is that it is too much money for the few people who use it,” said Mayor Gary Golinski. “People didn’t want to spend $20,000 a year on a recreation center that served 3,000 residents a month. How can we spend $23,000 a year on a service that only a few hundred people use?”
City officials also said KAT is a countywide service, and should be funded by a countywide agency. They said Yorkville residents also pay county taxes, so they pay twice for the KAT service.
But KAT Director Paul LeLonde said the city is failing to understand the situation. He said the local match — which is paid according to population by every municipality in Kendall County — is used to leverage state and federal money that pays for most of KAT.
Anyone can use KAT, if they register for the service. But it is mostly low-income, seniors and the physically challenged who use it. LeLonde said some take it to work, the doctor or the store. Riders pay $3 for a basic ride, with a $1 discount for senior citizens and the disabled.
“It’s not just losing Yorkville,” LeLonde said. “It’s a lot bigger than just one contribution.”
LeLonde said KAT officials plan to meet with city officials “to show them the local contribution is needed, that it’s more than just a bus to people.”
“The people on those buses need to get out into the community,” he said. “KAT is their avenue, they’re way of getting to work, the doctor, or to get a meal at the senior center.”
Golinski said the city might need the money to pay a $22,000 bill it received from KenCom, the county’s emergency dispatch system. Kendall County and the municipalities fought for almost two years over KenCom cost sharing.