DeKalb aldermen interested in returning waste hauler savings to taxpayers

July 12, 2018

DeKALB – Rather than seeing all of the savings from Lakeshore Recycling System’s new contract go toward street maintenance, most DeKalb City Council members would like to see the money returned to the taxpayers.

Under Lakeshore’s contract, residents will see a monthly reduction in their garbage bill of $3.63. DeKalb Public Works Director Tim Holdeman discussed the use of savings during Monday’s committee of the whole meeting.

According the results of a survey to gauge residents’ preference of refuse services, 63 percent of online participants and 60 percent of a random sampling either agreed or strongly agreed that any refuse savings from a new contract should fund a service that has gone underpaid for years: street maintenance.

However, 1st Ward Alderman David Jacobson said in having conversations with citizens about the survey, some people may have been confused about what was being asked. Residents were asked if they’d like to save money and if they’d like to put funding toward roads in a noncomparative way.

Should people have been asked whether the wanted the savings or if it should go to roads, Jacobson estimated that the results would’ve been closer to 50-50.

Several council members, including 2nd Ward Alderman Bill Finucane, 3rd Ward Alderman Michael Marquardt, 4th Ward Alderman Patrick Fagan and 7th Ward Alderman Anthony Faivre said if money were going to go to street repairs, they would be comfortable with a dollar of the $3.63 at the very most, which would translate to roughly $107,000 a year.

Marquardt said if his arm was twisted, one possible option would be to earmark some of the money for alleys or sidewalks and not necessarily general street repair.

“Our alleys are in poor shape and much of that is directly maintained by heavy truck usage going down those or the sidewalks which we don’t have a program for them so and I think you can get a bigger bang for your buck,” Marquardt said.

DeKalb Mayor Jerry Smith said a decision on the savings would likely come before the council soon in an upcoming meeting soon.

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