Board of alternate mass transit district to discuss future

CHAMPAIGN — Board members of an upstart mass transit system established in 2006 but yet to provide any service will meet Monday night to chart their future.

The Champaign Southwest Mass Transit District board will meet at 7 p.m. Monday at the Windsor Road Christian Church, 2501 W. Windsor Road, C. Among the items on their agenda are budget and tax levy ordinances for 2012, discussions with the larger Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District and a possible advisory referendum in March.

"We're still questioning our very existence right now. We've got decisions to make about whether we are to continue on," said Edward Vaughan Jr., chair of the Champaign Southwest board.

Earlier this year the Illinois Supreme Court refused to get involved in the six-year-long spat between the two transit districts, essentially saying they could co-exist and even double-tax those who live within both districts. The Champaign Southwest district was established by voter in March 2006 as a way of blocking the larger MTD's growth into southwest Champaign and rural areas beyond.

Officials from both transit districts met privately last month, a session that Vaughan described as "very cordial."

"We're not at war with each other," he said. "We never have been at war."

One of the options the group discussed, according to both Vaughan and C-U MTD director Bill Volk, was to have the smaller system contract for service from the larger operation.

"The way I see it, three things can happen," Vaughan said. "One, we can dissolve and go and have the county wipe us out. Two, we can continue to exist and run no buses and continue to charge taxpayers, and we'll get a revolution because of the double taxation of a lot of people.

"Three, we can negotiate with the (C-U) MTD if people want some sort of bus service into those areas that are not joint areas, or areas where they would not otherwise go into our district. In other words, if we want to run an extra bus and they don't want to run it, we might contract with them."

Volk said the C-U MTD board is waiting to hear exactly what the smaller district wants.

"The consensus at our last board meeting was that we really can't respond to them because at this point we don't have a specific proposal," he said. "We would really need to know what they're talking about. When do they want service? What type of service do they want? When would they want to start? There are vehicle considerations for us.

"I think the ball is in their court on what they want to do."

Vaughan said the Champaign Southwest board might go to its constituents next spring to get some guidance.

"We are talking about possibly having a referendum to see what our taxpayers want in the way of bus transportation," he said. "Either no buses or more buses."

Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten said that the Champaign Southwest board would have until Jan. 3 to approve a resolution requesting an advisory referendum on the March 20 primary election ballot.

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DEB wrote on November 06, 2011 at 6:11 am

Looks like once elected these low tax repubs really want to keep the people paying taxes. There is no reason at all for this group to exist and keep double taxing the residents of Southwest Champaign. They make some claim they will oversee the CU-MTD. Bull. All they will do is keep our taxes as high as possible and make Southwest Champaign remain the butt of jokes for our high taxes. No wonder houses out there take longer to sell than anywhere else in town. Shut that do-nothing tax sucking government called Southwest MTD down now! Tell Edward Vaughn to think about the citizens instead of his pocketbook for a change. We don't need a MTD and a fake, do nothing tax sucking group called Southwest MTD that gives absolutely nothing in exchange for stealing our money.

John O'Connor wrote on November 06, 2011 at 8:11 am

So, the anti government, anti tax 'tea partiers' set up a do nothing government body that double taxes residents yet provides no services. And now these scam artists are scheming to continue their existence so they can keep on double taxing citizens without providing any services whatsoever?

This is what happens when 'tea partiers' actually get elected. When do the voters of SW Champaign get the chance to vote this laughing stock out of existence? Or is this fiasco going to be a permanent monument to 'less' government and 'lower' taxes?

Conversely, could it be that they're actually conceptual performance artists enacting an intricate homage to George Orwell?

parkmymeterelsewhere wrote on November 06, 2011 at 11:11 am

Why don't you organize this conceptual performance to really occur as a fundraiser for a vilage of Savoy/railroad underpass construction on curtis road crossing instead of wasting 15 million taxpayer's dollars on the Olympian drive project which you probably condone?

parkmymeterelsewhere wrote on November 06, 2011 at 11:11 am

The association with "tea" is ridiculous. The original intent was to keep
the MTD from increasing taxes to residents in Savoy for bus service. This was organized many years ago.

scott_tapley wrote on November 07, 2011 at 7:11 am

For what it's worth, the original intent of the CSWMTD was to attempt to stop the CUMTD's arrogant, heavy-handed, and undemocratic expansion throughout Champaign County. Two referenda were supported by 70%-80% of the residents. However, when the CSWMTD lost the battle against CUMTD in court, it also likely lost most of the public support (and legitimate reason) for its existence.

gregnovak wrote on November 07, 2011 at 9:11 am

What does the Champaign Southwest Mass Transit District have to do with Savoy since:

 

1. Savoy is NOT with its boundaries - that is the Champaign Southwest Mass Transit District and never has been.

 

2. Savoy has concluded an agreement with the Champaign Urbana Mass Transit District to allow that body to be folded in over the next twenty five years - and is providing service to the village.

 

Don't understand how Savoy always ends up as the responsible party in these issues witthin Champaign

John O'Connor wrote on November 07, 2011 at 2:11 pm

I was puzzled by the other commenter's reference to Savoy as well.