Village of Roscoe Board holds off on paying Stateline Mass Transit District

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Photo: Stateline Mass Transit District

Attendance at last Tuesday's meeting of the Village of Roscoe Board of Trustees was smaller than recent meetings, since the annexation of a certain wedding/party venue was not on the agenda this time. According to Village Administrator Scott Sanders, the property on White School Road needs an access permit from Winnebago County. "It is our position that we will not move ahead until that is granted." he said today. Still, other interesting topics came up.

Sanders made presentations to the Board about hiring a surveyor to clarify the boundaries between Village property and 21 adjacent homeowner's properties northwest of Applemint Lane, since some homeowners near Valerian Way may not be clear about where their back yards end. They also discussed a proposed half-mile ag-lime walking path at Porter Park, using all donated materials, going north past the disc golf course to Prairie Flower.  Sanders also mentioned future opportunities that might allow Metric Road to be extended north of Historic Auto Attractions and Willowbrook to be extended north of Swanson Road.

Steve Stromquist, deputy treasurer for the Village of Roscoe, didn't give a detailed report at this meeting. When one trustee suggested they vote in favor of paying their bills as usual, Trustee Carol Gustafson proposed that they pay them all - except for the Stateline Mass Transit District.

Gustafson told the Board that the Stateline Mass Transit District (SMTD) hasn't provided annual reports or other details, though the Village has requested them, and since "it's our responsibility to know what we're getting," she suggested they hold off the payment until some questions are answered and the Village of Roscoe can confirm that its residents are being served. "My motion is that we delay cutting a check for $20,000 for this organization." According to Gustafson, the Village of Roscoe used to have a member on the SMTD board, but now the SMTD's reporting to the Village falls short of expectations and hampers the Village Board's oversight function. What representation does the community have now? "We have no idea..." said Gustafson later. The SMTD is a popular program, but the Board must have agreed with Gustafson about oversight and reporting, since they unanimously approved her motion without further discussion.

On Friday evening, Sharon Hecox, executive director of the Stateline Mass Transit District, replied to Roscoe News's requests for comment to say she would send financial and ridership information by early this week. 

Stateline Mass Transit District (SMTD) was created on February 4, 2008 to provide on-demand public transportation services for South Beloit, Rockton, Roscoe, Roscoe Township and Rockton Township. It was intended to fill the gap between the areas served by the Rockford Mass Transit District and Beloit Transit. Former Rockton Village President Dale Adams proposed the idea in 2002 and worked with former Congressman Don Manzullo to initiate it. Kathy Kliebe, who was a Roscoe Trustee at the time, was also involved in the early days, along with other local leaders. 

Another group, the Stateline Area Transportation Study (SLATS) Metropolitan Planning Organization, has developed a virtual-reality open house website to gather community input into regional transportation planning activities. They are charged with developing a Long Range Transportation Plan that considers all forms of transportation, not just the buses operated by the SMTD but even bicycles and trains. Acc0rding to their website, the scope of their responsibility is "primarily in the City of Beloit, Town of Beloit and Town of Turtle in Rock County, Wisconsin, and the City of South Beloit, Village of Rockton and Rockton Township in Winnebago County, Illinois." In other words, it doesn't include Roscoe, which is part of Region 1 Planning Council, headquartered in Rockford. 

At the meeting, the Village Board also swore in Village Clerk Stephanie Johnson and Trustees Stacy Mallicoat, Susan Petty, and Justin Plock. Brad Hoglund has been appointed to the Zoning Board of Appeals to fill an unexpired term, but will be sworn in when they meet next.

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