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Council to consider big garbage fee hike

Evanston aldermen tonight are scheduled to decide which of several options to follow in trying to reduce the city’s garbage collection costs while also raising more revenue.

The proposal from city staff calls for nearly doubling the sanitation charge on city water bills from $13.90 every two months to $26.60.

Evanston aldermen tonight are scheduled to decide which of several options to follow in trying to reduce the city’s garbage collection costs while also raising more revenue.

The proposal from city staff calls for nearly doubling the sanitation charge on city water bills from $13.90 every two months to $26.60.

The new rate would include a new $1 monthly fee for yard waste collection.

The increases are designed to partially plug the $8 million hole in next year’s city budget.

A staff memo presents three options for revamping the city’s garbage collection system.

The memo suggests that minor modifications to existing operations could save $290,000 a year.

An alternative of switching roles so city crews would do recycling pickups now handled by a private contractor, while a private contractor would take over refuse pickups now handled by city workers, is billed by staff as savings $560,000 a year.

A third option, of contracting out both refuse and recycling, is claimed by staff to offer savings of $455,000 a year.

It’s unclear from the memo how city staffer’s arrived at the latest cost estimates, which do not square with estimates developed earlier this year that showed contracting out both refuse and recycling would save substantially more money than the switching roles approach.

Aldermen so far have been extremely reluctant to contract out both services, because it would lead to the elimination of seven permanent unionized city jobs.

The city’s streets and sanitation operation now runs at a deficit after service charges of more than $3 million a year.

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