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Editorials

Our view: Low trash bid is DeKalb's best option

A Waste Management truck travels his route Wednesday in DeKalb. The DeKalb City Council will be voting Monday whether to retain Waste Management as the city's waste service provider.
A Waste Management truck travels his route Wednesday in DeKalb. The DeKalb City Council will be voting Monday whether to retain Waste Management as the city's waste service provider.

The city of DeKalb sought bids for waste collection for more than 9,000 households this spring and now residents stand to get a better deal.

The low bidder, Lakeshore Recycling Systems, has offered to charge $15.58 a month for service homeowners already receive, plus provide for collecting electronic and household hazardous waste. All that for $5 less a month than the $20.60 that residents pay for service now.

Waste Management's bid was about $1.32 more a month for similar service. Now it’s up to the City Council to select the best deal for residents and pass along the savings.

Some employees of Waste Management, whose five-year contract with the city is set to expire Aug. 31, want the city to re-up with their company. They say the difference in cost is not that much, and several Waste Management workers live in the community, so the city should keep Waste Management as its residential waste hauler.

However, if given the individual choice, we suspect that the majority of residents – not all, but most – would choose the provider who offered them the best price for comparable service.

That’s what the council should choose on their behalf.

We respect that several Waste Management workers live in the community, and that some, including a sanitation worker profiled in Christopher Heimerman’s story that appeared in Friday's edition, are passionate about what they do.

But Waste Management is no more local than Lakeshore, which purchased the former DC Trash operation in Cortland in November 2017, and still operates their Cortland office, where local people work. Lakeshore is an Illinois company based in Morton Grove; Waste Management is based in Houston.

Whether DeKalb’s trash is taken to Waste Management’s huge-and-growing landfill south of Cortland or another site matters little. The Chicago-area waste stream will continue to flow; DeKalb County will get its tipping fee money.

We expect Lakeshore can handle adding DeKalb to its customer base. They already service more than 600 buildings in the Chicago Public Schools system, along with multiple suburban communities.

The city sought bids for this service to secure the best deal, and that's the option they should select now. Likewise, the people who benefit from a rate reduction should be the homeowners. Any reduction in price for trash collection should be passed on to residents, not diverted to road improvements or other uses.

Illinois homeowners are squeezed enough. If people in DeKalb can pay less for waste removal and recycling, let them keep the savings.

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