Hickory Hills renewed its contract with Waste Management for eight more years.
The city council voted unanimously on a tentatively approved contract extension with Waste Management last Thursday night, allowing for an eight-year extension.
Residents will see a $5 decrease beginning with their next bill, when the current rate at $26.75 will drop to $21.75.
“It is a big contract and a big savings for the city,” Alderman Brian Fonte said. Fonte has been working with a contractual agreement with Waste Management over the past month.
Upon attorney review, Mayor Mike Howley reported the contract will go into effect immediately.
The contract also includes a weekly recycling agreement instead of bi-weekly, set to begin in August. In October, 2013, Fonte and Alderman Thomas McAvoy, both third ward alderman, published and distributed a survey form to approximately 1,300 homes in the their ward. The questionnaire was designed to determine how many residents would like to change the combination of refuse and recycling containers they had to some other desired combination. The majority of residents said they wanted weekly recycling.
Prior to weekly recycling taking place, Waste Management will send out postcards to Hickory Hills’ residents informing them of the change. WM officials also presented to the council the idea of creating community brochures for the city and its residents. The brochures would include all necessary Waste Management information and allow space for city services, including branch pickup.
“We will be sure to handle all communication between us and your residents,” Waste Management representative Mike Morley said.
The city will be receiving a $7,500 check in community support each year, beginning June, 2015, instead of continual recycling rebates. A 50/50 recycling rebate will take place when Hickory’s recycling amount exceeds $130 per ton. The city will then be entitled to half of the Waste Management rebate, Morley explained.
“We get the most back from recycling from cardboard,” Morley said, “Glass is actually at a negative retail value and plastics are 50/50.”
Officials said the last time recycling in Hickory Hills exceeded $130 per ton was in 2008 and again in 2011.
There is a higher contamination rate in recycling effecting the rebates with items being put into recycling containers that should not be, Morley said. Examples include traditional garbage, garden hoses, metal objects and yard waste.
“When these items are hidden inside of recycling containers, it contaminates the items that are meant to be recycled,” he said. “We could include an additional 75-cent drop in rate to our residents this year, or wait until next year when the rate will be able to be dropped to 90 cents per household,” City Treasurer Dan Schramm said.
The additional 75-cent drop in price would have taken residents’ monthly fee to $21 per household; however, the city decided it is best to wait at least another year into the contract when they will be able to lower residents’ rates even more.
“We have worked with Hickory Hills for many years and we look forward to serving them in the future,” Morley said.