In a last-minute revision to the trash disposal plan to be considered by Evanston aldermen Monday, city staff now plan to charge people more who throw out more.

The new plan also drops all discussion of raising fees over a three year period and focuses only on rates for next year.

Refuse pickup

Under the revised plan, residents who switch from the 95-gallon trash carts in use across the city now to a smaller, 65-gallon cart would see no increase in their current $6.95 per month trash pickup charge.

The 65-gallon carts are the size of the new recycling carts distributed to most homes, although 95-gallon recycling carts were also available upon request.

Those who continue to use a 95-gallon refuse cart would see their monthly charge rise to $10.95. And the cost for having a second refuse cart would rise from $2.50 to $6.95 a month.

The staff memo estimates that about 70 percent of residents would opt to stick with the larger carts and have to pay the higher fee, which would raise about $500,000 in new revenue for the city.

Yard waste

The new plan also eliminates the proposed flat rate monthly charge for yard waste pickup contained in the earlier plan.

Instead it proposes two options for handling yard waste.

Residents could buy bags for their yard waste and have them collected for the cost of a $1.75 sticker attached to each bag.

Or they could buy a yard waste cart from the city for $82.50 and pay $25 a year to have it emptied by the city each week. (At another point in the memo that annual charge is pegged at $30. No explanation of the discrepancy was immediately available.)

The yard waste carts hold about as much as three or four yard waste bags.

In the staff memo, Suzette Eggleston, the city’s sanitation superintendent and interim public works director, said the plan is designed to encourage residents to limit their yard waste disposal and to use carts instead of bags.

She says the carts help reduce injuries to workers by eliminating the need to pitch bags into the garbage trucks by hand.

Sanitation would still run at a loss

She estimates the new yard waste program charges will generate about $1 million in new revenue for the city, substantially more than the current $600,000 cost of that program.

But the increased refuse charges would still leave the city spending about $1.5 million more for refuse disposal and recycling than the revenue the programs generate.

So the net general fund subsidy for sanitation programs would still be over $1 million. But that compares to a shortfall of more than $3 million now.

Bottom line for users

Under the plan a resident who used a small refuse cart and composted all yard waste would see no increase in his or her $83.40 a year payment for trash removal services.

By contrast, someone with two large refuse carts who put out two yard waste bags each week through the eight-month yard waste season would see the annual cost for trash removal increase from $113.40 to $333.80 under the new staff proposal.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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5 Comments

  1. The City MUST go out for bids to privatize sanitation service
    Well, slap me silly and call me Suzy.

    Rather than taking the potentially less expensive route – use private contractors and layoff the seven union employees – the city now has decided residents will pay by volume. I smell a bureaucratic nightmare if this plan passes.

    Whether raising the fees across the board or charging by use, residents ultimately will be paying more. And, this proposal still leaves the sanitation budget $1 million in the red.

    The problem is NOT solved.

    I really do hope and expect the city to go out for bids to privatize all sanitation services. That way, the City Council will have all the facts and figures available to make a fiscally sound decision on sanitation costs.

    If they do not ask for the bids, and go ahead and pass the pay by volume plan, then a great disservice would be thrust upon taxpaying citizens of Evanston. Failure to get bids from private contractors would be simply gross financial mismanagement.

    City officials appear to be doing everything they can NOT to lay off union city employees. And instead, keep them employed on the backs of hard-hit taxpaying citizens.

    You would think after three consecutive years of a severe Recession, massive job layoffs IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR, property values declining as property tax rates increase, the City Council by now would have cut back on the most COSTLY item in the budget – employees!!!!

    But no, NOT ONE CITY UNION EMPLOYEE HAS BEEN LAID OFF IN THE PAST THREE YEARS!!!!!

    It’s time our ELECTED officals make hard decisions and cut staff.

    But does anyone think that will happen when Mayor Tisdahl appointed the UNION PRESIDENT of city employees on the budget advisory committee, which will soon make its budget recomendations?

    Reply:
    The new plan adds charging by volume. It does not change the plan to switch roles — with a contractor doing trash pickups while city crews do recycling. That has the effect of reducing the number of city workers required from around 13.5 to about 7. Because only 7 of the current workers are full-time permanent employees, it would avoid laying off any full-time permanent workers in the unit. See details about that, and the projected cost savings, here.
    — Bill

    1. Contact Aldermen with Opinions on Budget
      EvanstonNow forum is great but I hope residents are emailing these and other comments to aldermen. I don’t know if or how many aldermen read EvanstonNow [shame on them if they don’t] but email to them can make sure they know the residents complaints.

  2. New Waste Collection Fees
    With all the complexity involving waste pickup we will need to add a new Director to staff, whose title will be Director of Poultry Defecation Services.

    Has anyone told the City Council you do not tie the shoelaces together?

  3. Revised trash plan: Pay by volume
    While I agree that responsible cut-backs are necessary, sanitation is one area that most people don’t want to see diminished service of.

    “Pay by Volume” is really sensible! IMHO, by using that approach, the City is encouraging recycling, composting and making the real users pay their fair share!

    Brian G. Becharas

    1. My concern is that pay by
      My concern is that pay by volume will cause a rash of fly-dumping into other people’s trash containers.

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