Refuse Referendum

There have been two meetings and a mailing to all of the residents of unincorporated Shields Township regarding the refuse referendum.  The following is a summary of the information passed along through those meetings and mailing.

The process begins with the  refuse referendum being put onto the ballot this November in the unincorporated areas of Shields Township.  If the electorate chooses to pass it then Lake County SWALCO organization will work with Shields Township to negotiate a contract that goes to multiple bidders. 

Currently there are 4 refuse providers in the unincorporated areas.  Each company has different trucks, typically one for general refuse, one for recycling and during the warmer months one for yard waste.  That can mean that up to 12 trucks are driving through the neighborhoods on a weekly basis.  Because they drive close to the edge of the road it causes breakdown of the roadways leading to increased costs for road maintenance.  In addition, truck traffic causes safety issues for the children riding bikes, folks walking their dogs and those pulling out of their driveways.  That is the concern that prompted Supervisor Darraugh to investigate and then become involved in getting the facts to the community.

The municipalities are able to negotiate lower prices and better services because they represent a larger group.  This is common practice.  This year 2 townships (Fremont and Avon) are going to referendum for their refuse pick up.  In the recent past 3 townships have franchised their programs (Warren, Lake Villa and Ela)  The success of the refuse franchising is easy to understand.

Consider that the average cost in unincorporated areas across Lake County without a hauling franchise for garbage pick up is $30 per month.  A recent survey of the Shields Township unincorporated areas (where close to 50 residents responded) showed the average price to be $26.  The price for a yard waste program in other townships that use a franchise agreement was less than half of unincorporated Shields Townhsip's average price for the same service.  Here are some other comparisons.

Warren Township  
$19.64/month for 95 gal. cart, $16.90 for 65 gal. and 14.52 for 35 gal.  (includes recycling cart); yard waste subscription is $87.04 for 8 months and stickers are $2.03
Lake Villa Township
$19.87 for 95 gal. cart, $16.89 for 65 gal. cart (includes recycling cart); $62.90 for 8 month landscape waste service, stickers are $2.18

Ela Township 
$25.65 for 95 gal. cart, $23.34 for 65 gal. cart service with 64 gal. recycling cart; $3.39 for landscape waste stickers; $52.64 for 8 month landscape waste service

Right next door, Village of Lake Bluff residents pay $18.50 for 95 gal. cart and recycling with additional services. 

The above township prices also include additional services at no additional cost.  Some have 1 large item weekly, at the door household chemical, battery and electronics pick up, Christmas tree pick up, etc.

Some answers to questions asked at the meetings:

What if prices go sky high?  Contracts are typically signed for 5 years since the refuse company provides the homeowner with free containers. It takes that long for the business to recoup costs.  At that time if there are complaints or the prices rise too high there is the opportunity to renegotiate. 

Will the Township be between me and my refuse collector?  The relationship is between you and the provider. The only purpose of the township is to negotiate a better rate and service for its residents.

Will this involve a Township tax?  No.
Will you be able to opt out of the program?  No

Will there be a senior rate?  We can put that into the contract.  Generally it is 10% lower.  Everyone can also choose between 3 sizes of cart at varying costs to keep expense down.

Who would I call if I am unhappy with service?  You would call the service provider and then the township if you don't get a satisfactory response.

What would happen to my current contract- would I get stuck paying two providers?  No.  The current contract would be negated.  The companies are aware of the negotiations and contracts and honor them even if they are not chosen to be the main provider.

What is the timing of this process?  The Township board will consider whether to put this to referendum at the July 19th board meeting.  If it passes then it will be put on the ballot for Nov 2018.  If that passes then there will be a period of time to get information out as to preferences but generally there are a couple of basic contracts that have worked well.  It then goes out to bid with help from Lake County SWALCO to multiple service suppliers.  The soonest residents would see a change is spring/summer of 2019.

If you have additional questions or feedback don't hesitate to contact Supervisor Darraugh at