New garbage contract bringing Groot trucks to Naperville

 
 
Updated 11/8/2018 4:20 PM
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Groot trucks will be a weekly sight in each Naperville neighborhood starting May 1 as the waste hauler takes over the city's garbage, recycling and yard waste collection under a 10-year contract.

The pact keeps the monthly fee for residents close to flat in the first year, with $12.95 due per household, up 6 cents from the $12.89 residents pay to Waste Management.

That's a far cry from the 15 percent increase the city feared would be the case when officials made projections last year, Mayor Steve Chirico said. The city council approved the contract Wednesday night.

"This is a great contract for the city," Chirico said, " ... a great deal for our residents."

Residents will have to pay $2.25 for each yard waste sticker, up from the $2.10 now. Sticker prices will rise to $2.50 in the third year of the contract and $2.75 in the sixth year.

But in this contract, Christmas tree collection is included free, no separate fee. Residents can continue to use their city-issued bins for garbage and recycling storage. And Groot will develop a customized website for Naperville residents, designate two customer service representatives to answering residents' questions, and create a smartphone app that can provide text alerts about holiday collection schedules and weather delays, as well as regular collection procedures.

The contract will cost the city $7.3 million in the first year and increase in price by 2.8 percent each year. For the city's second-largest yearly expense, behind health insurance for employees, City Manager Doug Krieger said the known stability of a 10-year pact is a big plus.

As Groot prepares to collect from roughly 42,000 households in Naperville, Senior Assistant City Attorney Pat Lord said the company is purchasing new vehicles to make the rounds. Those vehicles initially will run on diesel but will be converted to run on compressed natural gas once a fueling station opens in Naperville.

Under a separate deal the city council approved Wednesday, a fuel company called Trillium will lease an acre of land near the Test Track on Jefferson Avenue and build a compressed natural gas fueling station there by July 30, 2019.

Groot is one of two firms that have committed to minimum purchase agreements with Trillium.

"It's great to have a few partners step up and guarantee that they'll use it, one being our new trash hauler, and Ozinga, which already uses some CNG trucks," city council member Paul Hinterlong said about the Mokena-based concrete manufacturer, which has been operating mixing trucks powered by CNG since 2011. "I'm glad to see this finally coming through."

The fueling station has been on the city's to-do list since at least 2014, but Dick Dublinski, public works director, said officials held off until a partner could be found to build and operate the facility without taxpayer expense.

Trillium will build the estimated $2 million facility using a $300,000 grant the city secured from Drive Clean Chicago and will pay the city $1,500 a month to lease the land for the station under a 10-year deal. The city plans to convert some of its 580 fleet vehicles to use the fuel. More than 50 it owns now are eligible for conversion.

"CNG is starting to become one of the new fuels," city council member John Krummen said. "It's very forward-thinking."

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