QUINCY -- Garbage stickers will double in price, and recycling will become an opt-in program later this year after a pair of big decisions by the Quincy City Council on Monday night.
Aldermen voted to give themselves, and a committee, two more weeks to come up with a solution on yard waste collections.
"Two out of three ain't bad," Mayor Kyle Moore told reporters after the 90-minute meeting.
At one point Alderman Tom Ernst, R-3, suggested that all decisions be tabled. Moore said after repeated contact with council members he believed there was enough support to pass garbage and recycling options. The motion to table was rejected and aldermen dealt with all but the yard waste issues.
By an 11-3 vote the council agreed to raise garbage stickers to $1.50 for small bags and $3 for large bags. Red stickers will replace the current blue stickers that cost 75 cents each.
Garbage collections also will change as trash containers will be required at curbside starting May 1. Bags will no longer be allowed unless they're within a receptacle.
Recycling will change from a free program to a $5 per month fee for those who wish to participate. The fee will be placed on the quarterly utility bills for those who opt in. Also, on May 1, a $4 public safety fee will no longer be collected on utility bills.
New recycling containers of a different color will be provided to households that sign up for recycling.
One of the pressures that led to a new recycling plan is the $95 per ton that Quincy Recycle will charge to accept recycled materials from the city. Recycling markets have collapsed, in part because China has banned the import of most recycled goods. Some items that Quincy Recycle used to pay for are now considered cost items, especially when not sorted or when transported in trash trucks that taint the items.
City Comptroller Sheri Ray said the charge for sending items to a landfill is $35 per ton, much less than the $95 per ton the city will pay for recycling materials.
Aldermen hope to come up with a better option than $3 stickers for yard waste collections under Evans Recycling Inc., which operates the city's yard waste site.
Aldermen also voted against supporting an electric aggregation contract with Homefield Energy by a 7-6 vote.
Moore apologized for signing an extension for aggregation without council approval last year. He asked aldermen to confirm the three-year contract and warned that rejecting it might prompt a lawsuit against the city.
"I was not a supporter of aggregation myself when it came up the first time, but after 65 percent of voters in Quincy supported it, I came around," Moore said.
The Homefield Energy electric rates rejected by the council would have saved Quincy customers 11.5 percent over Ameren Illinois rates, which will become the default electric supplier on March 1.
Alderman Jeff Bergman, R-2, said calculating his own electric bill, the lower rate would save customers about $67 per year.
There are 10,000 residential customers now covered by aggregation who will need to do their own shopping for better electric rates, usually for much less than 3-year increments, in order to avoid the higher cost.
Voting against the aggregation contract were Aldermen Dave Bauer, D-2, Ernst and Paul Havermale, both R-3, Mike Farha, R-4, Jennifer Lepper, R-5, Jeff VanCamp, I-6 and Terri Heinecke, R-7. Voting for the contract were Alderman Virgil Goehl, D-1, Eric Entrup, R-1, Bergman, Mike Rein, R-5, Richie Reis, D-6 and Jack Holtschlag, D-7. Alderman Tony Sassen, R-4, abstained.
In other action:
º A $100,000 short-term loan for Quincy Transit Lines was approved. Director Marty Stegeman said the federal government shutdown delayed a $600,000 grant and the state has another $1.3 million grant still coming for the bus service.
º Eleven ballistic vests were purchased from Uniform Den, Moline, Ill., for use by police officers.
º Software from LogiSYS valued at $15,570 was approved for use in the body worn cameras used by Quincy Police Department.
º Housing for Lt. Jeff Nevin was approved in Evanston, Ill., while he goes through training. The cost will be $5,679.
º A Quincy Barge Dock Committee meeting scheduled for Tuesday was put on hold, while Richard McNay of McNay Trucking meets with Moore to discuss a barge dock management agreement. Consolidated Barge and Grain had been selected for the contract earlier, but aldermen want McNay to continue unloading barges if issues such as permanent equipment, storage facilities, marketing and rail services can be instituted.