Rolling Meadows residents said 2-1 Tuesday night they want to keep city garbage collection, thus "closing the door pretty definitively on the issue as far as the people are concerned," said Mayor Tom Rooney.
With all 17 precincts reporting by early Wednesday morning, the vote was 4,810 to 2,610 against privatization.
The vote is advisory, not binding, but Rooney said at this point the council will not vote on the issue unless an alderman forces it.
"I am fully confident that a majority of the council will go with the wishes of the people of Rolling Meadows," he said.
Garbage collection would cost $60 less a year if the refuse service were privatized, and the city stood to gain $400,000 by selling equipment. No city employee would have lost his job.
Rolling Meadows is one of the few suburbs where municipal employees still pick up garbage. Opponents of privatization say the quality of their work is a point of pride.
City officials and staff found two companies that promised to provide all the services that city employees do now.
Rooney, who believes privatizing the trash pickup makes economic sense, said it is difficult for the city to find ways to save money.