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Revised trash plan: Pay by volume

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.

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