- Chicago has partnered with Laborers Union Local 1001 to identify adjustments to city grid boundaries that will allow the city to reduce the daily deployment of garbage trucks from 310 to 292. The adjustments will save the city $7 million.
- The adjustments and reduction of the daily fleet is in response to a recent audit from Inspector General Joe Ferguson, who concluded that there were too many garbage collection crews in the city assigned to do the work that needed to be done. Although the city allots five hours to service the routes, the crews were completing work in three hours.
- When the city switched collection from a ward-to-ward system to a grid system, it was able to redirect $28 million in operating costs to support other Department of Streets and Sanitation services, according to Mayor Emanuel.
Recently, Chicago has been undergoing significant changes to its solid waste collection operations. The city announced in August that it will likely implement a fee on garbage collection for the first time, which will cost homeowners $11 or $12 per month. However, officials are worried that the fee — along with the city's $500 million property tax increase — will have a vastly negative impact on homeowners. Alderman George Cardenas, chairman of the City Council's Committee on Health and Environmental Protection, is so concerned about the pressure to privatize garbage collection that he is proposing an "enterprise fund" protection for the DSS.
However, Mayor Emanuel has promised to serve the city better, and believes that the new garbage collection fee, if passed, will prove to be a wise decision for the city.
"We remain committed to respecting Chicago's hardworking taxpayers by delivering quality neighborhood services in the smartest and most efficient manner to hold down their costs," the mayor said in a news release.
Streets and Sanitation Commissioner Charles Williams added that the DSS has evaluated many variables, "like the amount of time crews were spending on routes and daily tonnage reports, as well as implementing many of the recommendations provided by the Office of the Inspector General, which has resulted in these additional modifications that will further improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the program."