Trash Talks Underway with LRS; Contract to be Considered Soon
Across the board, the cost of providing local government services continues to rise due to a myriad of factors including unfunded state mandates, health care and insurance costs and rising pension liabilities. At the same time, ongoing planning for the maintenance and replacement of our community’s physical infrastructure (roads, sewers, the water distribution system, etc.) remains front of mind. The challenge this presents the Village Board and staff is the need to identify and implement creative ways to maintain the characteristic Glencoe service levels that our residents value and expect, while also ensuring that services are being offered in a fiscally responsible way so that infrastructure and other pressing needs can be addressed.
To this point, following an extensive review of the current in-house garbage collection program (presented to the Village Board last fall) which continued with an RFP process for an outsourced garbage collection program, at the July Committee of the Whole meeting the Village Board instructed staff to prepare a contract with Lakeshore Recycling Systems (LRS), our current recycling hauler, for the Village’s garbage collection services. The Board is expected to consider the contract at the August 17 Village Board meeting and will work with staff on evaluating a quarterly fee structure in the near future.
Knowing that residents value the service levels offered through the current in-house program, the decision to move forward with outsourcing garbage collection was not made casually. The decision was ultimately informed by the results of an exceptionally comprehensive two phase analysis – Phase I was of the current garbage collection program including a review of all current operational costs, service levels, long-term capital costs and program efficiencies. Phase II of the analysis involved measuring resident opinions of garbage collection as-is and initiating a competitive request for proposal process with private garbage haulers. I encourage you to review these review documents on the Village’s website via the links above.
From Phase II of the analysis, it was determined that current service level options could be maintained, and even improved, while also reducing the overall cost of garbage collection service provision, by contracting with LRS. In essence, two sets of benefits were identified: those to the Village organization and those to residents. By outsourcing with LRS the Village would be able to reallocate the costs of fleet maintenance and replacement and could reassign current garbage collection employees to other areas of operation such as water system maintenance, sewer cleaning and tree trimming. Additionally, LRS has committed to using an environmentally friendly compressed natural gas garbage truck for collection.
For residents, the transition to LRS would mean that current service levels (curbside or back door, once-weekly or twice-weekly collection) will continue with increased options such as food scrap composting during yard waste collection season and a second spring clean-up day for bulk items (probably in the fall), both of which were cited as important to residents that completed our survey this spring. Additionally, residents would have access to LRS customer service representatives Monday-Saturday as well as to an online service request website. Finally, LRS has agreed to offer a garbage collection hardship program for those who are unable to bring their garbage carts to the curb (more details on qualifications for this program are coming soon).
LRS has been the Village’s recycling provider since 2015 and has provided excellent service since that time. Likewise, LRS is currently collecting both garbage and recycling for the City of Highland Park, Village of Riverwoods and other communities throughout the Chicago area. LRS is a leader in the delivery of these services and has committed to continued Glencoe’s hallmark collection practices for our community.
While the Village is confident in the ability of LRS to provide exceptional customer service, should the Board approve the contract, we plan to take extra measures to make the transition to LRS as smooth as possible. Such a transition is likely to occur on or around November 1, and both the Village and LRS would provide significant communications to all residents in advance of the transition. Should you have any questions about this transition, I encourage you to reach out to my office and let us know your thoughts. Please remember, we plan to share a great deal of information with the community regarding the election of service levels, important dates and rate structures once they are finalized. Know that we are committed – as always – to ensuring that Glencoe residents receive the services they expect.