Residents’ garbage rates locked in for five years

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Maywood residents should not see an increase in their garbage-collection rates for the next five years. Under the terms of a new contract hammered out with the village’s current refuse hauler, Republic Services of Chicago, based in Melrose Park, the village will actually see a cost-reduction, but Village Manager Willie Norfleet Jr. said that cost savings will likely not be passed along to residents. Instead, he said, that savings will likely be used to enhance garbage collection in the village, such as ensuring cleanliness of the alleys or establishing an electronics recycling site in the village.

The village will save about $1.2 million in its new five-year contract with Republic compared to its current contract with the firm, Norfleet said.

“If nothing more is proposed, that money could be used to help clean up the alleys,” Norfleet said this week.

“Concerns have been expressed about (garbage) droppage and the cleanliness of the alleys. Seniors have issues packaging yard waste. With that money, we can provide additional service. We can go through the alleys and properly prepare the garbage for collection. Those are the types of improvements that can be done if we have another avenue to afford services.”

Norfleet said even if the village does not immediately enhance garbage-collection services, that money can serve as a fallback for the village. “We do not want to be overly hasty. We don’t want to count our chickens before they’re hatched,” Norfleet said. “We have stabilized the cost.” He said with uncertainty looming over local municipalities because of potential state moves, having extra dollars on hand through the garbage-contract savings is a good thing. “They are talking about having local taxes frozen,” Norfleet said. “If that does occur, we are going to have to shave down services.”

Village officials credited their involvement with the West Cook County Solid Waste Agency, a consortium of 35 communities aimed at promoting solutions to issues related to trash, as part of the reason for the cost-reduction being seen.

Phillip Kowalski, a longtime consultant with the Solid Waste Agency, said a request for proposals was sent out on the village’s behalf in mid-November seeking bids on the current one-day collection or a proposed two-day collection system. The RFP was sent to seven garbage-hauling companies as well as advertised in a Chicago newspaper.

Kowalski noted that just two responses were received – the bid from Republic and a letter from Waste Management indicating that the firm did not feel it could provide a cost-competitive service bid on either village proposal. The village’s current garbage contract with Republic includes curbside pick-up of trash, recycling and landscape waste at residences, and a Public Works roll-out service – and big Dumpsters provided for material collected by the village department.

“In the first year of the contract, the residential services – the curbside service in the village – would represent a 10-percent reduction in current pricing” Kowalski said.

The cost of the roll-out service, he added, would drop anywhere from 12 to 18 percent depending on the size of containers and the amount of debris collected. Kowalski said the village should save an estimated $236,000 in the first year of the contract. That extends to $1.2 million over the life of the five-year contract. Along with the initial price drop, the annual percentage increase in Republic’s new contract has also dropped – from the current 3.5 percent per year to 3 percent per year.

Kowalski said if the current garbage-collection fee was carried over into the new contract and the annual percentage increase stayed at 3.5 percent, the village would have paid $1.8 million more in garbage-collection services.

The existing level of garbage-collection service will remain in the new contract, Kowalski noted. The option of extending collection over two days in the village instead of the current one-day system was proposed as a possible cost savings, but no reduction in prices was seen with such a move, the consultant said. He added that efforts to increase recycling and provide bigger recycling receptacles to residents also did not yield any cost savings.

Trustee Antonette “Toni” Dorris said she has concerns with the current level of garbage collection provided by Republic. “There is trash in the streets,” Dorris said. “We need to make sure that is addressed.”

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