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Committee: Savings From Four-day Trash Pick Up Not Worth The Trouble

Recommendation suggests keeping current hauler.

A call for trash pick-up proposals yielded four qualified companies and prompted a discussion among members of the Public Works Committee about the merits of going to a four-day collection schedule.

Elmhurst staff asked local trash companies for their best price on the city's current three-day pickup schedule, as well as any ideas they had for saving residents money. Six companies submitted bids and four – Allied Waste, Veolia, Waste Management and Groot – were deemed qualified to continue the process.

One company, Veolia, said it was not financially viable for them to make a proposal on the city's current three-day collection schedule, but did offer a price based on a four-day schedule. A Veolia representative told the committee that because of how union contracts are structured, it makes more sense for the company to dedicate a four-day per week crew to the city.

Veolia'd price, based on the four-day pickup, would end up being at least $500,000 to $700,000 less than the bid offered by the city's current trash collector, Allied Waste. However, at least a quarter of city residents would see a new collection day based on the four-day schedule.

Veolia's proposal threw the committee into a quandary, as they weighed the benefits of saving money versus the potential trouble for many residents to adapt to a new trash collection day. City staff would also have to adjust to working with a new contractor. Committee Chairman Jim Kennedy said the city and Allied work so well together that the amount of actual staff time spent dealing with trash issues is virtually nothing.

One more complicating factor: all companies would now allow residents the option of a 65-gallon toter along with the current 33- and 95-gallon receptacles. Public Works Director Mike Hughes cautioned that changing vendors, routes and toters all at the same time could be hard for residents.

“I think people are going to be upset with getting their day changed,” Hughes said.

As for the savings that could come from switching to Veolia, the committee's calculations showed that residents on average would save about $53 over the life of the five-year contract. Committee members did not believe this was enough of a savings to disrupt a situation both staff and residents are used to.

The committee also acknowledged that Allied, the city's garbage services provider since 2006, has proven themselves not only capable of handling weekly pickup at the city's 13,200 sites, but by also providing extra services during the city's many storms in recent years.

“We have a track record with Allied,” said Hughes.

The committee's recommendation will now go to the full council. The new contract would begin April 1, 2013.

MK December 11, 2012 at 01:19 PM
I like my trash guy and the day i get picked up and the containers we use....send me a bill for the $10 per year I will pay it ! Change for the sake of saving $53 over 5 years is crazy !
Jim Court December 11, 2012 at 02:16 PM
This may be a good case of maintaining the status-quo and going with what has worked and has provided excellent service.
Jim Court December 11, 2012 at 02:18 PM
should have said " good case for maintaining"
NancyC December 11, 2012 at 03:46 PM
I could not disagree more with the basis used to come to this decision. Seriously, changing days, containers, and men, could be hard for residents? If residents are that soft and easily "distraught" then God help us when a real need for change has to be met. Status-quo, status-quo, status-quo. Every year we see tax increase upon tax increase is that the status-quo you truly desire?
Jim Court December 11, 2012 at 04:03 PM
NancyC, Would this small amount impact us that much? I am against waste as much as anybody but I would tend to stay with a known company who has shown to provide truly excellent service. Now of days there is no reciprocal loyalty. It is a dive to the bottom based simply who will provide the cheapest product or service. This is achieved by lowering wages, cutting costs wherever possible, a taking advantage of everything you can. Imagine if this was your business and you provided the best service possible but I came along and marginally cut your price and all your customers came to me. No one is more in favor of constructive change than myself but I still question the value in doing so and I concur with the city. I never want to be only defined by what I am "against". I am for good Government, efficiency, honesty, creativity, innovation, improvement, and open-mindedness. I do not have a chip on my shoulder that find pleasure in only expressing negativity. I know I offend some but that is not my intent. I believe everything can be improved, starting with me. I am not directing this at you specifically. The fact that you care enough to offer an opinion is a positive.
Ken December 11, 2012 at 06:15 PM
Why is the city asking for bids when its in love with Allied? Saving money, no matter how small, in the end adds up to a significant savings.
Mark Scholl December 12, 2012 at 12:11 AM
Residents would have a hard time changing trash pick up days? To save 500k-700k for all taxpayers while allowing residents more capacity? Isn't this a no brainer?
Darlene Heslop December 12, 2012 at 04:33 AM
why didn't the aldermen ask their constituents if they wanted to save the city $500k to $700k? basing a decision on an assumption is not the same as making one based on facts. this was proven once this year with making the referendum on dual office holding a november ballot issue...remember...the majority favored moving it to april because they "assumed" voters would be "confused"...but when the public showed them otherwise...they decided to put it on the november ballot.
Dan December 12, 2012 at 06:47 AM
Seriously?? You people would rather keep a Tuesday trash pickup than get 5 more cops? Fireman? New park playground equipment? A good 4th of July weekend event like modern towns (Naperville)? Pay down our debt? The list goes on.... or at least it could have. What a waste! Saving $3,000 I can see maybe forgetting, BUT $500,000 TO 700,000??? I can't wait until the next election when money-smart aldermen run for office.
Steve December 12, 2012 at 11:44 AM
Remember the savings that are spoken of are over a five year contract.
Jim Court December 12, 2012 at 03:05 PM
There have been some good responses to this issue. Dan, I do not believe that the savings would go to the city but would come from the owners of property. The city was clever to break it down into yearly cost. This minimizes the impact an is easier to sell their position. I think that as a single item it is not significant, but the general public is getting hit on every angle possible. Cumulatively the total has become staggering. In a day of flat or declining wages, declining property values, the burden is getting excessive for many. Incremental changes often seem insignificant but then the reality hits home of the total impact. I have a tendency to look at both sides of an issue and remain open minded to new information. Some people are not comfortable with this style of thinking. They see it as wishy washy. Many people prefer immediate closure. Both styles have benefits as well as negatives.
RobertAWilson December 12, 2012 at 08:32 PM
This news report is striking for its lack of detail. a: $500,000 over 5 years divided by 13,000 households = $7.70 per year per house.

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