Voters in the central Wisconsin village of Weston this week voted in favor of a binding referendum to restore public bus service to the community. Village leaders are now pledging to work with the group that put it on the ballot.
After Gov. Walker's cuts in state aid, Weston village leaders helped balance their budget by dropping out of the Wausau area Metro transit system. Tuesday's vote to restore public bus service was a lopsided 64 to 36 percent. Kathi Zoern lives in Wausau, and relies on buses because of a handicap, "It's very important to me. That's the only way I can get around. I can't drive because of my eyesight, so that's my independence. To get to doctor appointments, shopping, visiting friends, community volunteer work."
Zoern says she can no longer get to the St. Clare's medical complex in Weston, so she worked with the faith based social justice group NAOMI to get the referendum passed. Weston Administrator Daniel Guild says village leaders will now look at the results, and work with the interested parties, including NAOMI, as they figure out what to do next, "We definitely want to thank everybody for coming out, casting a vote. We look forward to working with NAOMI and the community as we figure out what the best solution is for the village going forward."
Kathi Zoern thinks village leaders should listen to the voters and bring back the buses, "They should listen to their village residents that voted. I mean if they appeal this and delay it, we still might not have public transportation. It's vital to this community to be all connected."
The village still has a court case pending challenging the referendum. That case needs to be resolved by fall if Weston is to rejoin the Wausau area Metro system next year.