WALKER, Mich. (WZZM) - A group is pushing to remove the city of Walker from the Rapid Bus System, saving residents tax dollars.
The Kent County Taxpayers Alliance turned in over 1700 signatures to the Walker City Clerk's office Tuesday afternoon to place a ballot measure before voters in November to exit the Rapid Bus System and its property tax authority.
The KCTA says the city of Walker has consistently voted against the Rapid's property tax increases but because they are a smaller community than Grand Rapids, their rejection of higher taxes has been overwhelmed by the vote totals from the larger city.
Most recently, in May 2011, Walker residents rejected the Rapid's tax increase by nearly 70%. The proposal passed by a little over 100 votes.
The WalkerYes campaign will begin active campaigning after the signatures are verified and the measure is officially on the ballot.
When asked about the petition drive, Rapid CEO Peter Varga responded, "Our job remains to provide efficient and effective service in the six city region and beyond, as evidenced by the 162% increase in ridership since 2000." Ridership is expected to top 11.5 million trips this year, providing needed connections to jobs, fostering economic development, and encouraging a sustainable future for our region.
"The Rapid has had twelve years of balanced budgets with no deficits, kept its promises in terms of service improvements over the years, and continues to be a driver in regional development, said Peter Varga, CEO of The Rapid. "It is a leading example of regional cooperation and collaboration."
"The more people learn about The Rapid, the more they realize the value. Surveys consistently show that over 70% of people use The Rapid to get to work. That number was 80% in the most recent survey," said Barb Holt, Chair of The Rapid Board and Mayor Pro Tem of the City of Walker. "By providing service across the region, people gain access to schools, churches, hospitals, and places of employment."