ELMHURST – Elmhurst residents will see a decrease starting April 1 in the overall monthly fees for refuse collection.
The Elmhurst City Council approved new monthly rates for the period of April 1, 2018, to March 31, 2019, in a 13-1 vote in favor of an ordinance that added a flat $1.45 per month administrative fee to all three size options for toters that are now available to residents. The city established a new contract with Allied Waste of Melrose Park/Republic at the Feb. 5 City Council meeting that included a new 35-gallon option.
The administrative fee would be used to cover the cost of the two unlimited leaf pickups that occur in the fall, street sweeping of leaves and the administration of the program, according to the report that was passed at the Feb. 20 City Council meeting.
As stated in the ordinance, the monthly billing rates, including the administrative fee, for the curbside collection of refuse, recyclable materials and brush are as follows: $16.50 per month for 35-gallon toter users, $17.20 per month for 65-gallon toter users and $22.29 per month for 95-gallon toter users. Refuse stickers and yard waste stickers are both $3.25 each, which includes a $0.47 administrative fee per sticker.
Alderman Michael Bram, who voted against the ordinance, said at the March 5 City Council meeting he couldn't support the ordinance because he believes the user fee per gallon for the 35-gallon toters should be lower than the user fee per gallon for the larger toters if administrative costs would be the same across the board.
Alderwoman Marti Deuter said March 5 that none of the fees charged are on a per-gallon rate, but it is the city's practice to incorporate the "full cost" of the refuse collection into the user fees charged to residents.
"The admin fee covers a small portion of the city salary, IT and supply costs that are directly attributable to managing the refuse contract," Deuter said.
For example, the administrative fee covers the cost equivalent to one full-time staff person, in a sharing of the load of work among the public works director, customer service and finance staff, Deuter said. It also covers fall leaf collection and a citywide leaves sweep in the fall, she said.
"And as has been the city's practice in the past, we calculate the amount that needs to be generated to cover these expenses, we apply a portion of that amount to the refuse and yard waste stickers, and then we divide the remaining amount equally among households," Deuter said. "As the report indicates, the committee made this fee equal for all users as it is not dependent on the size of the toter used."
She credited the overall monthly fee decrease this year to a "very favorable" pricing in the new street sweeping contract, which lowered the administrative fee, and a decrease in the Allied Waste of Melrose Park/Republic contract pricing.
Last year's total monthly charge for 65-gallon toters was $17.76 and $23 per month for 95-gallon toters, according to a Public Works and Buildings Committee report passed Feb. 20. The fee for refuse stickers and yard waste stickers was $3.25 last year as well.