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Article updated: 3/18/2011 3:39 PM

Wayne Twp. residents question garbage referendum

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Wayne and Bloomingdale townships are posing similar referendum questions to residents on the April 5 ballot, asking voters to give each township permission to negotiate bids with waste haulers.

But only one township, Wayne, is hearing considerable opposition from some of its nearly 1,800 residents.

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Wayne Township Supervisor Tom Arends said officials approved the binding referendum question after individuals and homeowners association leaders in unincorporated areas approached them, asking for help to secure better pricing on garbage collection.

"The only reason the board made this decision is to try and do something positive for our residents," Arends said. "We have done cost comparisons and did collect some resident bills, and it does seem people in municipalities are getting a better deal than the people in unincorporated (areas)."

Officials in both townships said the measure is cost-neutral and they do not stand to profit. At a meeting this week, Wayne Township leaders also outlined benefits of allowing them to negotiate prices, including eliminating costs such as fuel surcharges that can add up to 25 percent on some resident garbage bills.

But residents such as Tom Hebda and Danielle Luchtenburg say they have many concerns stemming from the meeting, including worries township officials already have a garbage hauler in mind.

"They formed an exploratory committee of residents and officials after this was put on the ballot, and that should have been done before," said Luchtenburg. "And at the meeting, the tone from the board members was that this was a good thing. Their pros list was much longer than their cons. But then they say they don't have an opinion. Yes they do."

Both Luchtenburg and Hebda agree the current seven garbage haulers operating in Wayne Township are overkill. And they see how benefits outlined by both Bloomingdale and Wayne Township leaders -- such as fewer trucks rumbling down roads and garbage bins at the curb on the same day -- are true.

Still, they say a potential lack of constant competition worries them and several neighbors.

"We think going to one carrier is a mistake," said Hebda. "It would be ideal if the township could get two or three carriers and let us pick the best one."

He adds that some horse owners in Wayne fear new carriers will forbid Dumpsters and require them to bag horse waste. But Arends said if the measure passes, the township can only negotiate for curbside pickup. Thus, horse owners are free to negotiate with any company they choose for horse waste.

But even this concerns Hebda, who says horse owners could wind up losing discounts if they must hire a hauler to pick up only horse waste and not regular garbage, too.

Wayne Township residents can find more details on the April 5 question by visiting waynetwp-il.org. The township serves portions of Bartlett, Carol Stream, Hanover Park, Wayne West Chicago and unincorporated areas nearby. Voters can

Bloomingdale Township has not posted online information on the April 5 referendum. The township can be reached at (630) 529-7715 and serves portions of Addison, Bloomingdale, Carol Stream, Glendale Heights, Hanover Park, Itasca, Lombard, Roselle, Schaumburg and Winfield.

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