NEWS BLOG (WSAU) Technically, the Weston Village Board is breaking the law. They openly admit it. The question of restarting bus service between Weston and Wausau was put on the ballot, the referendum was approved, and the busses must run.
But the referendum called for a specific type of bus service: 12 trips a day between Wausau and Weston. The village board voted to do something else. Instead they will run 7 trips a day. And the bus will run from Weston-to-Schofield-to-Wausau. Fewer trips and the longer-than-it-has-to-be route will allow Weston and Schofield to work together, share the costs, and save their taxpayers some money.
So will the bus supporters sue? They’d probably win.
They’d also show themselves as incredibly selfish. The village is facing a $750,000 budget shortfall. Residents were asked, in a separate referendum, if they’d be willing to pay higher taxes to fund the bus service. The answer was a resounding ‘no’. Some taxpayers wanted something… other taxpayers said they didn’t want to pay for it. Typical.
The cost of the bus service is about one-sixth of the overall deficit.
The buses are never full; and, for many trips, are empty.
Other services will have to be cut to make up for the shortfall. (The village also has a novel idea to shift some costs onto local utility bills. That would, indeed, bring in more money. But it’s a lousy idea, and is bad public policy. More on that in a separate blog.)
Against that backdrop, going to court over how often a bus runs and which route it runs on is absurd. The question is quickly becoming how much does everyone else have to sacrifice for someone else’s pet project?