As the city tries to balance its budget, Evanston residents may soon pay more for trash collection. And the job may be done by a private contractor.

Suzette Eggleston, the city’s superintendent of streets and sanitation, recommended to City Council Wednesday that the city raise the sanitation charge that appears on city water bills from $6.95 per month to $9.95 — a 43 percent increase.

That’s still less, Eggleston says, than the $14 a month it costs the city to pickup household trash.


Superintendent of Streets and Sanitation Suzette Eggleston.

Eggleston also recommended that the city hire a private contractor to collect residential and condo trash. Based on the experience of nearby communities, Eggleston said, that should cut trash-hauling costs to $7.50 per household per month.

A contractor would also replace the city’s garbage carts, which are badly in need of replacement. The city would have to pay $800,000 to replace them otherwise, she said.

“By contracting it out, we would divert that cost,” she said.

Meanwhile, existing sanitation crews would be used to collect residential and condo recycling — a job now handled by a private contractor.

The city could then downsize the sanitation team from 13 employees to seven and the truck fleet from 12 trucks to seven. Those cuts, Eggleston said, would save the city $675,000.

“No current full-time employee would be impacted by the reduction,” she said, explaining several jobs are now being filled by seasonal or temporary workers.

The plan is a revision of one Eggleston presented to the council’s Administration and Public Works Committee in April.

But despite the cost saving, aldermen seemed reluctant to embrace the change.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, praised the quality of the city’s existing service.

Alderman Donald Wilson, 4th Ward, said, “I have a pretty strong disinclination to risk the quality of service that we’re getting now.”

Eggleston also suggested two other changes.

One would limit the amount of yard waste the city would pickup. She said that some households abuse the service now, putting out as many as 40 bags at a time, and that commercial landscapers, who are supposed to pay to dispose of yard waste they collect often leave it in alleys for the city to pick up instead.

The other proposal would end operation of the recycling drop-off program at James Park. She said half the people who use that service don’t live in Evanston.

Aldermen postponed action on the recommendations, asking for more research about trash collection systems in other towns and time to talk to residents about the plan.

“To agree to anything close to privatizing garbage pickup in Evanston in addition to adding another charge for that privatization I don’t think makes sense until we talk to our constituents,” Rainey said.

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7 Comments

  1. Another round- peg- in- a- square- hole government suggestion
    The city wants to raise our water bills by 43 percent, and switch responsibilities with the city crew and a private contracter, which would save about $675,000 a year.

    So, it’s the switch and raise bait.

    However, “if the city got out of the garbage hauling business, it would save nearly $1 million in worker wages and benefits and nearly $900,000 in annual costs to repair and replace its fleet of garbage trucks and stock of refuse carts.”

    What I don’t understand is why the city would collect recycling when it saves money now by hiring a contractor. The Council should vote to contract out ALL of the city’s sanitation services, hauling trash and recycling. That way we save the most money. Other suburbs are doing it.

    This is just another example of our elected leaders afraid of making fiscally responsible decisions that make sense. But instead, the Council chooses to placate the sanitation union at the expense of taxpayers.

  2. $300 a season to take grass and leaves away.
    With a private service we will have to pay a two dollar sticker for a bag of grass.The bag itself cost 50 cents,the sticker is two dollars total is $2.50 a bag.

    Small lawn one bag a week $2.50 a week,$36 dollars a month 7 months x 36 = $252 dollars a year

    When fall hits you can have a avg of 10 bags of leaves which = 25.00 total season $277.00 dollars, and this is for a small home in Evanston. Average home will be paying over 300.00. I see were this is going…

    Reply:
    As it stands now the staff-recommended option is NOT to charge for the first “three bundles and four bags or two yard-waste carts” picked up from a house each week.
    — Bill

    1. Reply to $300 season to take away grass and leaves
      Interesting math. One bag per week at $2.50 would be $10.00 not $36 per month. Since when do you mow your lawn EVERY WEEK from, what, April through October?

      10 bags of leaves is $25.00, but where does the $277 come from?

      I don’t want this plan, but for heaven’s sake keep your arithmetic straight.

    2. free grass
      A better idea is to not throw away you grass clippings. It’s better for your lawn and saves you and the city some money.

  3. Time to consider free option.
    How about try out free option that is earth friendly?

    Creating backyard recycling system will make job easy. Just dump leave and yard in recycle system in the corner of yard.

    Why do we really to collect yard waste? Let it become your composite soil!!

    Here is great info…. Take a look at this solution.

  4. big tax increae is coming
    Don’t worry Al – the council and the mayor are planning a big tax increase.

    The 4.5 million hole in the budget translates into a 11% property tax increase. Add in the increase they want in water bills – and it might we a 15% increase.

    The council members have no plans and worst yet they are wasting staff time on going to look at items very tangential to the process.

  5. Don’t end recycling drop-off
    “The other proposal would end operation of the recycling drop-off program at James Park”

    Do they mean the occasional electronics recycling events, or the regular weekly hours at the recycling center?

    The city should continue the weekly recycling drop-off. Many Evanston residents (this commenter included) live in multi-unit buildings without a recycling contract. If we couldn’t haul our recycling over to Oakton, it would end up in the landfill.

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