Batavia may go to flat monthly fee for garbage pickup

Batavia may eliminate selling garbage stickers, switching residents to a flat-fee monthly toter rental program.

"Refuse sticker program is ending July 1," the city announced on its Facebook page Thursday. The post linked to the city's website, where it said the city council is reviewing proposals for a new contract "and has decided to end the sticker program and utilize wheeled toters for both garbage and recyclables."

The city's garbage contract with Waste Management ends on June 30. Currently, people can buy a $3.28 sticker for a 32-gallon garbage can or bag of trash. They can also rent 35-, 65- or 95-gallon garbage toters for $23.81 to $27.06 a month. Garbage and recyclables are picked up once a week.

By noon Friday, the Facebook post had received almost 90 comments, most of them critical and worried they will have to pay a lot more. Many said that they only put out the garbage once or twice a month. A household that now puts out one 33-gallon can twice a month, for example, pays $6.56 for two stickers, or $78.72 per year. A 35-gallon rented toter costs $285.72 a year.

Alderman Dan Chanzit said he understands them because he also could end up paying more for his garbage pickup. Chanzit said, however, that a rental system may save other residents money.

He also said the city's announcement was an effort to let people know not to buy a lot of stickers between now and the end of June. "It was not meant to announce changes," he said.

The council has not finalized anything. Staff members are still reviewing proposals from waste haulers, and as of early Friday afternoon, no vote has been scheduled. "So there is certainly time for people to call their aldermen," Chanzit said.

No information was supplied about whether residents would have to rent other toters to dispose of yard waste and recyclables.

Currently, people dispose of yard waste in 33-gallon cans or paper bags with a sticker or rent a 65-gallon toter. Illinois law prohibits putting yard waste in landfills. As for leaves and branches, Batavia already charges every household $5 a month to pick those up.

In January, when a report on garbage removal was presented, aldermen directed city workers to ask for bids on a pay-per-tip option. In pay-per-tip, toters are affixed with radio-frequency identification chips. The customer is charged each time garbage is tipped into a truck. Wheaton and Highland Park use a pay-per-tip system.

That report also said that waste-hauling companies have become reluctant to bid on sticker programs.

Batavia has had a volume-based program for at least 24 years.

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