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posted: 9/5/2012 1:52 PM

Rolling Meadows to hold info meetings on outsourcing garbage

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  • Rolling Meadows is one of only a few Northwest suburbs that does not currently outsource its garbage collection, like here in Elgin.

    Rolling Meadows is one of only a few Northwest suburbs that does not currently outsource its garbage collection, like here in Elgin.
    Daily Herald File Photo


Before Rolling Meadows residents vote on privatizing garbage collection, city officials want them to have the facts.

Two informational meetings, meant to dispel rumors and educate voters about the pros and cons of outsourcing garbage collection, will be held on Sept. 26 and Oct. 11.

Rolling Meadows is one of the few suburbs that still collects its own garbage, but that could change after the Nov. 6 election, when residents will vote on the nonbinding referendum question: "Shall the City of Rolling Meadows contract with a private company for refuse collection?"

While the referendum results will be advisory only, and the final decision will be made by the city council, some aldermen have already said they will vote for whichever side has the most votes.

The outsourcing debate has brought out dozens of residents, who are concerned the quality of service will drop if garbage collection is contracted out.

Aldermen, however, have said throughout the process they are looking for an "apples to apples" comparison of services.

The city has narrowed its options to three: contracting with either Groot and Veolia, or staying with the city's public works department.

According to city documents, city-collected garbage will cost residents $29.36 a month; while the proposals from outside companies are about $5 cheaper. A contract with Groot would cost residents $24.47 a month and $25.97 with Veolia.

Those prices are still subject to change minimally once final contracts are worked out.

Both outside companies have agreed to look at either a 5-year or 7-year contract with the city.

Some residents are worried the low price they'll get the first year will steeply increase in the years to follow. Both vendors have agreed to a maximum 2.5 percent increase per year, while the city said their rates for public works collection could increase up to 3.25 percent each year.

The city would also sell their equipment to the outside company, if chosen, for up to $800,000, according to the refuse rates proposal document.

Alderman John D'Astice, who was on the ad hoc committee looking into garbage privatization, has said no jobs will be lost through outsourcing, because employees will be reassigned.

These issues and other questions about garbage privatization will be discussed at the two public information meetings: 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26 and 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11, both in the city council chambers at City Hall, 3600 Kirchoff Road.

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