Talking trash. Some things are changing; some things will remain the same.
As of July 2010, the City's Refuse Division began passing along some of the costs of residential solid waste services. A solid waste services charge of $11 per dwelling per month will begin appearing on the same statement as water bills next month. To accommodate the new invoices, the new bills will look different (in a yellow envelope, full-age in size) from the water bills residents have been receiving. For some residents, the first of the new bills will arrive in arrive in September, and will include two months of solid waste services. Eventually, all bills will include three months of services.
The solid waste services for which residents are paying will be twice weekly collection of solid waste, weekly collection of yard waste during "yard waste" season, and monthly pickup of bulky items, like furniture, appliances, and tires.
The $11 fee is lower than monthly fees charged in most areas surrounding the City, and includes more services than are provided in most of these areas. The fee will pay for some, but not all, of the cost of providing these services. In addition, the City will gradually provide more opportunities for you to recycle portions of your solid waste, beginning in wards whose aldermen are most interested in sustainability issues.
Passing along some of the costs of solid waste services wasn't the City's first choice. Last winter, the Refuse division experimented with reducing the frequency and types of collections. You complained. A lot. So, the City will try it this way: the same or enhanced solid waste services, partially offset by fees charged to those who use them.
The Refuse division expects some initial confusion, followed by a smooth process. (And the Water division is unhappy about sharing its bills.) We will see how this works out.