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City eyes commercial trash pickup monopoly

Evanston aldermen tonight are scheduled to vote on plans to establish an exclusive franchise for commercial trash hauling in the city.

City staff say the plan would cut rates for most businesses, reduce truck pollution and raise about $200,000 a year in franchise fees for the city.

But some business owners say they will have to pay substantially more under the plan than the rates they’ve individually negotiated with the half dozen or so garbage haulers now serving the city.

And aldermen two weeks ago raised questions about provisions in the ordinance that let some major entities — like the two local hospitals — opt out of the deal, while other firms would be forced to participate.

Coincidentally, Crain’s Chicago Business reports today that Chicago Mayor Richard Daley plans to introduce a similar waste hauling plan this week that would divide Chicago into 10 to 20 districts with one private company serving each one.

Advocates of the plan in both Evanston and Chicago have pointed to Skokie, where a waste hauling franchise agreement reportedly has cut rates for most businesses in recent years.

The Crain’s report says the Chicago franchise fee could bring in as much as $10 million in new tax revenue to the city.

The proposed Evanston ordinance would have no impact on single family homes and small apartment buildings now served by city trash trucks or on condominium buildings covered by an existing commercial hauling agreement with the city.

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