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Local News

Waste Management calls Joliet contract "most comprehensive" in Chicago area

JOLIET – The City Council is slated to vote Tuesday on a 10-year garbage contract that a Waste Management spokesman called “the most comprehensive program in the Chicago metropolitan area.”

And, Joliet would pay less than it is paying now until the year 2024.

Still, Mayor Bob O’Dekirk and Council member Jan Quillman voiced concern that the contract does not restore alley pickup to those who lost it in the last contract seven years ago.

“It’s a problem,” O’Dekirk said, noting that homeowners without driveways have to drag garbage carts across the lawn to get it to the curb.

O’Dekirk, however, also noted the cost savings and range of other services provided in the Waste Management contract.

New services include Waste Management’s “At Your Door” pickup of electronics and household hazardous waste, recycling pickup weekly rather than every two weeks. and an annual $250,000 “community support” contribution to Joliet that the city plans to spend on the Rialto Square Theatre or Slammers Stadium or both.

The monthly per unit cost to the city, which roughly reflects what Joliet pays per household pickup, goes down from the current rate of $24.64 to $21.70 in 2018. It rises each year but does not pass the current rate until 2024, when it reaches $25.16.

Joliet residents pay $25.20 a month ($19.20 for seniors) for garbage service to the city, which pays Waste Management.

Waste Management municipal marketing manager Michael Morley said after the meeting that he told the council the contract is the “most comprehensive” in the Chicago region because it adds “At Your Door” while increasing the rate of recycling pickup and maintains a range of services Joliet already gets. Services already in place include pickup of tires, refrigerators and other white goods, and even dead animals found in the city parkways and streets – a service that Morley called “completely unique to Joliet.”

Still, city staff was asked to see whether they could negotiate alley pickup service for residents willing to pay more to get it.

Quillman said complaints have not gone away since the last contract, when Waste Management stopped going into alleys except for those areas where street parking was considered too dense for curbside service.

“Some of the neighborhoods get it,” Quillman said, “and some in the same neighborhood don’t.”

Bringing back all the alley service that was there before would add a monthly unit cost of $1.17 to the contract, interim City Manager Marty Shanahan said.

The bigger problem, Shanahan said, is the potential cost to the city, which would have to spend $6 million to make the alleys usable for trucks.

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