Public hearing attendance shows
strong interest in Lincoln trash and recycling
Part one: Johnson reviews recycling
history and waste haulers bids
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[August 11, 2017]
- On Monday, July 31st, the Lincoln City Council hosted a special
public meeting at the Johnston Center for the Performing Arts on the
campus of Lincoln College. As seats began filling early, it became
clear that the decision to hold the meeting in a larger venue than
city hall was wise. The meeting was held so as to give Lincoln
residents an opportunity to ask questions and express opinions about
a city-wide Waste Hauler and Recycling Contract for all Lincoln
During the course of the evening, microphones were set up for
audience members to go and speak to the aldermen. However, most
people chose to remain in their seats, often calling out their
comments and questions without being recognized by the city.
For the most part, it was an orderly meeting, with there being only
one occasion when Mayor Seth Goodman had to interrupt an argument in
the audience and ask that guests address their comments and
questions to the council and not each other.
Comments and questions that were called out reflected that those
speaking were opposed to the city signing an exclusive contract with
a waste hauler. However, throughout the evening applause came not
only when points against the contract were made but also when point
made in favor of the contract were voiced, leaving the impression
that like the aldermen, Lincoln residents are split on how they fell
about this topic.
One key development on this night was the clarification of language
in the proposed contracts. While the city has maintained that
“exclusivity” and “mandate” are two separate issues that will
require two separate votes, Eric Shangraw of Area Disposal, who
appears to be the favorite for the contract award, said in the mind
of Area Disposal the two words are one in the same.
Aldermen were surprised by this comment, and later Alderwoman
Michelle Bauer, who has been in favor of the contract continually,
said that learning that Area was assuming a mandate was something
she needed to step back and think about a little bit more.
At the end of the night, aldermen agreed that they would not be
ready to vote on a waste hauler contract at the August 7th voting
session. The item was tabled and removed from the Monday agenda,
with intention to continue the discussion on the topic during the
next Committee of the Whole to be held on Tuesday, August 15th.
Topic introduction and review of proposals
The evening began with City Administrator Clay Johnson offering a
slideshow presentation looking at the history of recycling in
Lincoln and then moving into a review of the three bids that had
been received for future services.
The decision before the Lincoln City Council now is for trash
disposal and recycling, but at the heart of the decision is the
offering of curbside recycling and the opportunity to allow a
contract with the Logan County Joint Solid Waste Agency to fall to
the wayside. Dropping the contract with the LCJSWA would equal a
minimum savings to the city of $65,268 per year.
Johnson walked through the proposals from the three providers,
Advanced Disposal, Area Disposal, and Waste Management. The services
to be offered would include the waste hauler providing trash
receptacles for garbage as well as separate containers for
In comparing the cost of services on like options, it was pointed
out that Waste Management was considerably higher priced than the
other two providers, and therefore were out of the running for the
contract. Between Advanced and Area, costs yo-yo’d with Area being
the least costly in some cases and Advanced winning out in other
Johnson reviews the options
Option one included weekly collection of garbage and curbside
Option two was the same with garbage picked up weekly, but differed
in that recycling would be picked up every other week.
Option three was what Johnson called the status quo option in that
it most resembled what residents have now. Trash would be picked up
weekly curbside, and there would be large dumpsters provided at a
central location in the city for recycling.
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The options also included town wide clean up days that would
occur twice a year, a ten-percent discount for any customers over 65 years old,
recycling would go into a single tote with no pre-sorting required, and the
variety of items accepted for recycling would be expanded to include paper and
cardboard, plastic with recycle numbers one and two, aluminum, steel, and tin
cans, and glass bottles and jars with the colors of brown, green, blue, and
clear glass being accepted.
Area had also provided a fourth option. Receptacles would be
provided and all trash would have to fit inside the container, with no extra
garbage left to the side. There would be biweekly collection of recycling
curbside and a centralized location in town for drop-off of recycling. There
would be a monthly pick-up of large items curbside. And there would still be two
city-wide clean-up days.
All the contract options would take effect as of October 1st.
Johnson reviewed the benefits to the citizens in the options presented. In most
all cases residents would be paying less for garbage and recycling than they are
currently, some as much as $11 dollars a month less, others just a few dollars.
Curbside recycling with no sorting would add to the convenience for residents,
and seniors would benefit from a 10 percent discount.
The benefits to the city included no longer paying out $65K to the LCJSWA, and
no longer paying for its own trash collection, or hauling away of street
sweepings. Adding those two benefits, Johnson said the waste hauler contracts
would equal about an $80,000 savings to the city.
Johnson said that the council considers exclusivity and mandate to be two
He went on to explain that the question had arisen about those who do not
generate 95 gallon of trash and recycling weekly. Johnson said the city had
contacted the two main contenders for the contract.
Advanced Disposal said there was nothing they would do for low-volume customers
because they felt they had presented the lowest cost quote they could afford.
Area Disposal on the other had had said they would implement the “Low Income”
option that included a 20-percent discount to low volume customers, but the
option would be capped at 100 households.
A member of the audience objected to the usage of the words “Low income” saying
this issue had nothing to do with income. Johnson said he understood that, and
the terminology was Area’s and it was all equal.
Johnson next said that one question that has been heard a lot, is what would the
city do with the money it saves by entering into a waste hauler contract. It was
a difficult question to answer. He noted that the city is preparing itself for
another loss of revenue via the state of Illinois.
He explained the passage of Senate Bill 42 will take an additional 10 percent of
the income tax money generally sent to the city, so as to balance its own
budget. Johnson said that the city should receive $1,300,000 per year.
When the state takes its 10 percent, the city will lose $130,000 in revenues
that currently go into the general fund to pay payrolls, insurance, and other
general operating costs.
He said therefore, saving $80 thousand dollars was only a fraction of what the
city would have to save in order to keep its head above water when it loses that
Johnson would go on to address the issue of free market and personal choice. He
said the council understood that some felt the city was denying them the right
of choice. However, he noted that this is done in several communities in
Illinois and it works. He said that adding exclusivity for the waste hauled was
in essence creating a guaranteed customer base that gave the city purchasing
power, and is how the prices were made to come down over what is currently being
Johnson finished by addressing the contract length of three to five years and
told the audience that there is an escape clause inside the contract wherein, if
this doesn’t work out for the city and its constituents, the city can break the
contract with only seven days notice.
Coverage of this special meeting will continue with part two on Saturday.