Springfield Residents Deserve a Real Solution to the Garbage Problem in Springfield, IL
Springfield aldermen spent more than an hour Tuesday questioning Mayor Mike Houston’s proposal to increase the city’s waste and recycling fee by a $1 a month and put the fee on City Water, Light and Power bills. The measure was put on next week’s debate agenda without any indication whether there are enough votes for it to pass.
[Ward 6 Alderman Cory Jobe and] Ward 3 Ald. Doris Turner and Houston originally proposed the city collect both garbage and recycling feesthrough CWLP bills. That proposal, which was intended to make sure all residents had trash service, failed to get enough support.Public Works Director Mark Mahoney said the mayor has ordered his staff to increase enforcement of the city’s current garbage ordinance a month ago. His department is dedicating more time and employees to the effort, Mahoney said, focusing on 100 homes at a time. The city also has reinstituted a waiver process that allows people over 62 who share garbage service with someone else to be exempt from having trash pickup at their residences. Aldermen disagreed on whether waivers also should be granted for residents who take their trash to their businesses.
Under the mayor’s proposal, the city’s waste and recycling fee would increase from 50 cents to $1.50 on April 1. The increase would generate an additional $376,000 annually. That money would help cover the current cost of the city’s waste and recycling programs and possibly expand them. Even if the increase is approved, the city’s recycling fee would still be the lowest in Illinois, Houston said. The ordinance also calls for the city to start collecting the fee by Jan. 1, 2014. The fee is currently collected quarterly by waste haulers and paid to the city.
Possible program expansions include large item pick-ups, creation of a drop-off site, recycling, neighborhood and alley cleanups and hazardous waste collections.
The Inner City Older Neighborhoods Coalition (ICON), urged aldermen to pass the waste and recycling increase, stating, “This ordinance is a step in the right direction, but ICON believes Springfield residents deserve a real solution that residents of other cities take for granted.”