Most at MTD hearing oppose Stone Creek annexation

Most at MTD hearing oppose Stone Creek annexation

URBANA -- Champaign-Urbana Mas Transit District board members got an earful Wednesday night from residents of Urbana's Stone Creek subdivision who don't want to be annexed into the transit district.

"We just went through an 11 percent  (property) tax increase," said homeowner Gary Mason. "And now we're going to talk about another $300 or $400 on top of that. Maybe we should leave Urbana. This is  just another nail in the coffin for living in Urbana. It really is. There's only so much we can do."

MTD Managing Director Bill Volk said the tax increase for the owner of a $300,000 home in Stone Creek would amount to approximately $300 a year. About 150 of the 500-plus lots in the subdivison have homes on them.

Most of the dozen or so people who spoke at the public hearing on the proposed annexation of the 424-acre golf course subdivision were vehemently opposed to being brought into the mass transit district.

"Eight-tenths of the taxes I pay now are for things I don't use," said Steve Burwell. "I don't want my taxes raised any more for something I won't use."

Added Kevin Applebee, "I realize that if we don't want it there's not much we can do or say. If 99 percent of us don't want it, it doesn't matter. You guys have got it worked out."

Applebee suggested that the MTD raise the price of its annual pass.

"The first thing you can do is raise the price of that. Seventy-two dollars a year is a joke," he said.

The MTD's intergovernmental agreement with Urbana, Champaign and Savoy says that once subdivisions are annexed into the municipalities, they have to be brought into the MTD too. The MTD is undertaking two other annexations, one in the Boulder Ridge-Sawgrass area of Champaign and another in the Lake Park subdivision south of Champaign.

A hearing on the Lake Park annexation will be at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Savoy Recreation Center, 402 Graham Drive, Savoy.

"I feel like this is something that is being pushed on us. It's not something that we want nor do we need," said Brenda Gault. "I didn't come just to make my voice heard. I really expect that what we say here is taken into consideration."

She said that providing service to Stone Creek "is not a good allocation of resources."

The MTD plans to begin service to Stone Creek this fall, with three morning trips and three afternoon trips on the MTD Green Route.

Not everyone was opposed to MTD service in Stone Creek.

"Before I came here tonight I knew that people don't like to pay taxes. The only thing worse is paying more taxes," said Morgan Lynge. "But I also know that things cost money.

"Why do we have to pay for the schools?" he said. "We don't use them. Look at this gray hair. We don't have kids in schools. Why do we have to pay for schools? Why do we have to pay for courts? I hope the MTD will do a good job of finding where the services are wanted and needed in the area and then craft a plan that will satisfy as much as possible." 

The board is expected to decide on the annexation later this year.

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Brad Cortright wrote on June 11, 2014 at 10:06 pm

I would like to to see the itemized tax bill for the person who said, "Eight-tenths of the taxes I pay now are for things I don't use."  Does that include things like police and fire departments?  Roads?  Parks? Schools?

$72 per year for an annual pass does seem incredibly low.  Here in Milwaukee, a full-fare, adult annual pass would cost $768. 

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on June 13, 2014 at 1:06 am
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Hi Brad! ( We went to high school together  ... in Urbana.)


I'll bet these people aren't using the library much, and (one hopes) not the fire department either. Those are two of the more extravagant taxes paid by Urbana homeowners.

I want to know who sold these people on living in Urbana. I know Stone Creek is an Atkins development, and I know Clint Atkins was a shrewd businessman.  But did the buyers  really think they could live in Urbana without paying all of Our Wonderful Taxes? If so, there's a Realtor of the Year award awaiting ... somebody.

787 wrote on June 12, 2014 at 10:06 am

Simple, that $72 pass is subsidized by the property owners.  Plain and simple.  

Plus, on top of that, the CUMTD buys the fanciest hybrid buses that money can buy.

programmer011235 wrote on June 12, 2014 at 1:06 pm

According to a friend of mine who is a driver, those hybrid busses decreased the fuel consumption by a considerable amount.

Word wrote on June 12, 2014 at 10:06 am

Bus passes used to be $235, but they dropped it in 2009.  I guess they have to make up the resulting budget shortfall by expanding service to areas that do not want service.

Sure, this helps the low income, but transit costs in C-U are so low compared to elsewhere in our state, it is a joke. Our really low income are getting bus passes provided them through private social services anyway.  It is a better use of my money to donate to those organizations direclty instead of going through the MTD.

rsp wrote on June 12, 2014 at 6:06 pm

You went back four years to a story about two passes being donated? Social service agencies are still looking for ways to get people to work or to the doctor. Many people cannot afford the $72 for a yearly pass. They now have a monthly pass but if you start adding a couple kids it's hard. If they keep the cost per ride low, more people can ride. It makes it more efficient, more cost effective. But everyone has to do their part.

I'm Lovin' It wrote on June 15, 2014 at 2:06 pm

The argument of "I don't use it therefore I should not have to pay for it" -- fantastic. Do they believe in ONLY paying for the services they will use? Pay for fire and police protection ala carte? Only pay for the specific roads they drive on?

What happened to the concept of public good? Their argument is the same one advanced by the individuals in Lake Park in Savoy -- I don't find it to be very convincing.

I guess once you have yours, the heck with everyone else.. Are these people the 1% of our community? Or do they just listen to too much hate talk radio?