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Fate Of Wausau Area Bus Service To Be Decided By Referendum

Weston Previously Approved Bus Service In Referendum But Also Rejected Property Tax Hike To Pay For It


The fate of public bus service in the greater Wausau area will again be decided by a referendum in Weston, one of the region’s villages.

The latest referendum, which will be on the Nov. 4 general election ballot, asks Weston residents if they want to continue public bus service in the village and if they are willing to pay for it with property taxes.

Village residents overwhelmingly said yes to bus service in a referendum in June 2012, but then voted against paying for it in a second referendum later that year.

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Jean Abreu, a member of the bus task force of the social justice group NAOMI, had hoped a third vote wouldn’t be necessary.

“We were disappointed. We were hoping that maybe the village would simply say ‘yes,’ that the issue then would just be put into the budget and that would be that,” said Abreus. “This is a community issue. It’s not just Weston’s issue alone.”

Abreu said the public bus routes serve the entire metropolitan area, including the communities of Wausau, Schofield and Rothschild.

“Handicapped folks are just one slice of the people who use it,” said Abeu. “There are students who are using the bus. There are families who don’t have automobiles, or (the) elderly. And I think too, we always forget that we’re all one accident away from not being able to drive.”

Weston is currently paying about $47,000 a year to keep the buses running. Funding became an issue because of Gov. Scott Walker’s cuts in state aid to municipalities.

Weston Village President Loren White and Village administrator Daniel Guild both refused to comment for this story.