EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has been updated with comments from Elmhurst's Public Works Director Mike Hughes.
Elmhurst residents will continue to see Allied Waste trucks on neighborhood streets three days per week, but those trucks will soon only be grabbing garbage from 65- and 95-gallon receptacles.
The City Council on Monday approved keeping Allied as its refuse collector following a request for qualifications process that began last month. The $15 million contract with Allied includes an average of a 3.6 percent increase in the amount the city will be charged for service over five years. For 2013, costs will actually decrease from $2.95 to $2.8 million.
What will change are the two types of containers residents will haul to the curb. The 33-gallon can option will no longer be available. Instead, residents will have the option of a 65- or a 95-gallon toter.
The lack of a smaller option bothered 3rd Ward Alderman Michael Bram, who worried that senior citizens would not find the 65-gallon toter as convenient.
But 6th Ward Alderman Steve Morley said he looked forward to the larger containers—and perhaps to the end of smaller cans blowing over and spilling contents on the street.
First Ward Alderman Paula Pezza, who joined Bram in requesting a review of the city's garbage vendor options, thanked staff and the city's Public Works Committee for issuing the request for qualifications, which she said had not been done since the mid-1990s.
“We did see many options,” she said. “That's what it's all about.”
Last week, the Public Works Committee considered proposals from four waste haulers, one of which, Veolia, submitted a proposal for a four-day-per-week pickup schedule. Aldermen considered it because of a potential cost savings, but decided savings that would come from this contract would not be worth it.
At least one-quarter of homes would see a different collection day with Veolia. But the main difference between Veolia's and Allied Waste's proposal is that Allied is less expensive on the 65 gallon toter, Public Works Director Mike Hughes told Elmhurst Patch on Tuesday.
"By choosing Allied Waste over Veolia, approximately 80 percent of Elmhurst residents will be paying less for their garbage service in each of the next five years," Hughes said. "Granted, 20 percent will be paying more. That would be the 95-gallon toter users. This odd imbalance in the bid prices is where the $500,000 (savings) comes from. All of those 'savings' would have been seen only by the 95-gallon toter users."
With Allied, residents who select the 95-gallon toter will pay less for their toter in 2013 than in 2012. In 2014, they will pay one cent more per month than they did in 2012.
"So, in Allied Waste's proposal, of the five years of 65 gallon service, they are cheaper than Veolia," Hughes said. "And on the 95-gallon they're cheaper than they are now for the next two years."
Another reason for sticking with Allied was that residents are satisfied with their current hauler, 2nd Ward Alderman Bob Dunn said. On the recent citizen survey, he noted, 98 percent of respondents rated garbage pickup as fair or better.
This contract sets rates between the city and Allied. The council will get into specifics about the rates the city charges residents during the next budget process, 7th Ward Alderman Jim Kennedy said.
The council also approved water rate increases for residential and commercial users.
As of Jan. 1, the rate for residents will go from $6.41 per 1,000 gallons to $7.18 per 1,000 gallons. Commercial rates will go from $9.61 to $10.76.
Finance Committee Chairman and 4th Ward Alderman Stephen Hipskind told the council that the increase was being passed on to the city by the DuPage Water Commission, which is in turn paying more for Lake Michigan water from the city of Chicago.