DANVILLE — Aldermen will try again Tuesday night to reach a consensus on garbage and yard waste fees for the next five years.
Since October, when city administrators proposed a five-year plan to increase the monthly garbage rates and certain yard waste fees, the council has debated the issue, sending it back to committee twice and failing to reach an agreement. City administration officials say that increases are necessary to maintain the current level of garbage and yard waste service.
But some aldermen don't support rate increases at all or just not now. Some don't support cutting two solid waste employees, which was part of a compromise plan that would lessen the rate hikes.
At times, the discussion has been more about the cost and necessity of the yard waste program, because a significant portion of the projected increases in costs over the next five years are in the yard waste program.
To keep the program going, the city must buy land for a new yard waste processing site because the privately owned Brickyard Landfill needs the space the city is leasing. And, according to city administration officials, some expensive yard waste processing equipment needs to be replaced.
The yard waste program includes spring and fall pickups for all residents in the city, but between May 1 and September 30, those who buy an additional yard waste sticker continue to receive curbside yard waste pickup. And that service is partially subsidized by a portion of every resident's monthly garbage rate. Some aldermen want those who use that interim yard waste program to pay 100 percent of the cost.
Last month, aldermen were on the verge of voting on the compromise plan, but Alderman Lois Cooper, Ward 2, suggested sending the issue back to the public works committee, which had already recommended the plan the week before, and a majority of aldermen agreed to send it back.
But the committee very briefly discussed the issue last week and decided to send the compromise proposal back to the council with no changes.
The compromise plan is to reduce expenses by cutting two full-time solid waste workers, which allows for a freeze of the current $18 monthly garbage fee through April 30, 2013. The monthly garbage rate would increase the next four years to $23.50 a month by 2016. And the annual yard waste sticker would increase to $25 this year and $40 by the fifth year, and fees for some special solid waste pickups would also increase.
The plan also includes $990,000 in capital purchases over the next five years, including $80,000 to establish a new waste site, $315,000 for a yard waste material handler and processor, $80,000 for a yard waste windrow turner, $150,000 for a tandem dump for street sweeping, $165,000 for a street sweeper, $160,000 for a rear-loading garbage truck and $40,000 for an automated-arm replacement for two automated garbage trucks.
Cooper said she's still against the proposal, because she doesn't want to raise rates at all. She said residents have called, asking her not to support increases.
Alderman Mike Puhr, Ward 5, did not support sending it back to committee this last time. He said he supports the compromise plan as is; he has received only one resident comment against the plan, and the rest have been in support of continuing the programs as they are. To do that, he said, there are some capital needs that will be necessary.
"I think there's support among the people to keep the program going," he said. "It's a five-year plan, and I think it's very important, whether you're in business or a government, to have plans in place and not bring it back year after year after year."
On the agenda
The Danville City Council's regular meeting will be 6 p.m. Tuesday in the council chambers on the lower level of the Robert E. Jones Municipal Building, 17 W. Main St., Danville.
In addition to garbage and yard waste fees, aldermen will consider several other items, including:
-- Griffin Street bridge. Aldermen will consider spending $380,000-$600,000 in motor fuel tax revenue to replace the South Griffin Street bridge that's been closed for almost two years. Up to $1.5 million in federal dollars has been allocated through the Illinois Department of Transportation to replace the bridge, but the city must provide a 20 percent match.
-- Jackson Street parking. Aldermen will consider a recommendation to limit on-street parking on Jackson Street to nighttime hours and holidays. City administration recommended no parking from English to Ridgeview, but last week, the public works committee changed it to English to Voorhees only, because vehicles park on the street near North Ridge Middle School and Edison Elementary School to pick up or drop off students.
-- Voorhees sidewalks. Aldermen will consider authorizing the purchase of small chunks of property along Voorhees Street, so a sidewalk can be extended from the CSX railroad tracks to Wendy's restaurant, 1111 E. Voorhees St.