Evanston aldermen Monday tentatively voted to move forward with plans to raise fees for refuse and yard waste services.

They also agreed to seek requests for proposals from waste hauling companies to take over trash pickup work from city crews. Under the staff proposal the city crews would switch to handling recycling pickups now performed by a contractor.

Evanston aldermen Monday tentatively voted to move forward with plans to raise fees for refuse and yard waste services.

They also agreed to seek requests for proposals from waste hauling companies to take over trash pickup work from city crews. Under the staff proposal the city crews would switch to handling recycling pickups now performed by a contractor.

Final action on the plans wouldn’t come until after the council has received bids from contractors and has a more precise idea of how much the switch would save.

City staff has estimated the change in who does what work would save more than $500,000 a year.

The decision came at an unusual meeting of the Administration and Public Works Committee with all nine aldermen present rather than just the five who are members of the committee.

Votes to seek the request for proposals and to plan to start charging for yard waste services appeared to be unanimous.

But when it came to action on raising rates for garbage pickup, committee chair Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, asked that only the A&PW members vote. That vote split 3-2 in favor, with Rainey and Alderman Lionel Jean-Baptiste, 2nd Ward, voting no.

The yard waste rates would be $25 a year for a yard waste cart or $1.75 per bag for stickers for yard waste bags. City staff estimate that program would raise $1 million.

The proposed change in garbage pickup rates would be $10.95 a month for a 95-gallon cart, the current size, or $6.95 for a smaller 65-gallon cart.  $6.95 is the current monthly rate for garbage pickup.

The rate for a second garbage cart would rise from $2.50 to $6.95 per month.

Condo owners now served with dumpsters by a private contractor would continue to pay the $6.95 rate.

Staff anticipates the changes in garbage pickup rates would raise an additional $500,000 in revenue.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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4 Comments

  1. privatize trash AND recycling pickup
    Why shouldn’t the city privatize both trash and recycling pickup? Then reduce staff – the biggest cost item in the budget?

    Just sayin.

    Reply:
    Staff says that the “switch” plan makes the cost of having city staff do recycling marginally less than the current cost of having a contractor do it. Also said to leave more room for the city to “innovate” with new recycling ideas — like handling electronic waste. Also said to give the city the option of shifting staff around to handle other tasks in an emergency — say a big snow storm, or a strike by the private garbage hauler’s workers.
    The “switch” plan does reduce staff somewhat — by eliminating a few positions now held by temporary or seasonal workers.
    — Bill

  2. Yard waste cart costs $82.50
    I think the option to pay an annual fee for collecting yard waste from a cart is a reasonable one, however I did not hear anyone comment on the high cost to buy the cart in the first place. $82.50 is a lot of money, especially when this is the option that they are wanting to encourage. I think they should reduce the purchase price substantially, and if necessary increase the annual fee slightly.

    What is the cost to the city of the carts?

    Reply:
    $82.50 is reportedly the price the city pays for the carts.
    Building the cost of the cart into the monthly fee and spreading it out over the cart’s expected lifetime sounds like a step that would encourage cart use.
    — Bill

    1. Cost of yard waste cart
      Bill,
      I agree that it would be a good idea to allow people to pay for the carts in installments, but adding the cost to the monthly fee would be unfair to those of us that have already purchased the carts.
      Q

  3. Tax the Trees
    The most ridiculous idea I’ve heard in all of this is the $1.75 sticker for yard waste. Let’s proclaim ourselves a tree city and then charge people to get rid of their leaves. I don’t know about you my dear reader, but every fall I put out 40 leaf bags full of guess what…. leaves. I live in an area with many trees and paying close to $80 for one season of yard waste does not sit well with me. How is it going to go over with citizens who have no trees in their yards, but who have trees on their easement? How are neighbors with no trees going to like having to pay to get rid of surrounding neighbors’ leaves? Will they sue for the cost? Will they cut all the branches down overhanging their yard? What is the use of being awarded for being a tree city and then taxing everyone for having trees? Go green? How droll! It sounds like the city is paying lip service in that motto.

    I would rather the city stop slapping fees on me and just add it to my tax bill so I can at least claim it on my taxes each year.

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