Otsego County Bus System Millage On Tuesday’s Ballot

The wheels of the bus go round and round Otsego County, offering people who live there point to point service Monday through Saturday.   

On Tuesday, August 6, the county will ask voters to decide on a millage to keep it up and running. 

They’re asking people to levy 0.6 mills. That would cost homeowners with a house taxable value of $100,000 $60 a year. 

The bus system has been in service for decades, and since its inception, voters have been paying a 0.25 mill millage.

Otsego County commissioner Henry Mason says they need to increase its amount to cover operating expenses of the system. Recently, the county has lost out on some federal and state funds. 

“It’s an interesting millage in that we’ve had a drop in ridership of about 42,000 in the last 5 years,” said Mason. 

But to regular riders, the bus service is indispensable. 

John LaFave, of Gaylord, has relied on the system for 28 years. He is legally blind and uses it to go to work and get around town. 

“It’s absolutely convenient, especially in the winter, because most of the time they’ll come up the driveway so I don’t have to slide down the driveway to get to the bus,” said LaFave. “It’s door to door service.”

He hopes the mlllage passes so that he does not have to rely on the next best option, which is a taxi service. 

“Coming from [work] to my home here costs $15,” said LaFave. “Where the bus system, because I’m handicapped, does it for $2.” 

The vote will happen on August 6.