Normal mayor Chris Koos has written a letter to Normal Township Supervisor Sarah Grammer accusing her of using "biased misleading rhetoric," and tearing down community partners as the latest step in an ongoing dispute over public transportation funding.
Koos characterized Grammer's strategies as "intended to provoke rage and advance deceptive information."
Grammer called for Bloomington and Normal mayors to recall the Connect Transit Board of Trustees last week after she claims the agency deliberately withheld negative public feedback about fare hikes and a route cut prior to the board's vote last week.
“We have a significant problem to address with Connect Transit and Connect Mobility and we have to solve this as a community and we’re not going to solve it by taking shots at each other,” Koos said.
Koos added Grammer has been making misleading statements about the town’s funding level for Connect Transit by indicating the town has provided the transportation service with “the same flat dollar among three years running.”
Koos said the town has increased its funding for Connect Transit since 2009. including $878,000 in the current budget year.
The town significantly boosted its Connect Transit support in 2016 after the Bloomington and Normal city councils approved a 1% sales tax increase.
Koos said he’s not trying to escalate the dispute.
“I don’t see it as a bitter divide. I took a strong stance, there’s no question to that,” Koos said. “I don’t see a strong stance as drawing a line in the sand,” Koos said.
Grammer was asked if she planned to respond to Koos’ letter.
“I’m not sure what to respond to,” Grammer said. "This just looks like somebody’s late afternoon rant. There’s not much substance to get to here.”
She said she stands by her criticisms of how Connect Transit handled the fare hikes and how the mayor responded.
“(Koos) seems very upset and I’m not clear about why,” Grammer said. “He also seems to be criticizing me for doing the job that I’m elected to do.”
Koos called Grammer's "tactics intended to incite anger and manipulate voters" "shameful" and "counterproductive."
Both Bloomington-Normal mayors said they weren't planning to replace any Connect Transit board members.
Editor's notes: Connect Transit Board Chairman Mike McCurdy is GLT's program director.
This story has been updated to reflect Koos' comments regarding the town's Connect Transit funding.
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