River Forest appears headed for an extension of its solid waste contract with Roy Strom Refuse and Removal Services Inc. that would provide additional services to residents.

The village board on March 9 authorized staff to explore a five-year extension to the current contract, which is due to expire in 2022. Trustees generally favored exploring the extension.

“Let’s lock ourselves in for a longer period of time,” said Trustee Bob O’Connell.

“Strom has always been a great partner,” said Trustee Katie Brennan.

The ball started rolling when River Forest Sustainability Commission members announced their decision to stop holding their annual recycling extravaganza and inquired whether Roy Strom officials would provide options to residents to dispose of items that typically have been collected.

In response, the waste hauler proposed the extension with modifications to the contract to provide additional services, including curbside collection of e-waste and traditional donation items, including batteries, books, bicycles and toner cartridges. Light bulbs and latex paint would be added to the list in the future.

Also under the proposal, Roy Strom would reduce the cost of curbside compost collection from $19.86 to $15 per month, freeze the rate until May 1, 2022, and add additional recycling informational stickers to each alley recycling cart. 

In addition, the waste hauler would lower the universal solid waste tag price to $3 and freeze the rate until May 1, 2022, after which the cost would increase by 5 cents annually.

In response to a question from Trustee Tom Cargie, Public Works Director John Anderson said the additional services would be offered as soon as Roy Strom officials can implement them following approval of the extension.

In response to a question from Trustee Erika Bachner, Village Administrator Eric Palm said staff will develop an outreach plan for informing residents of the additional services once the contract is approved. 

The village website, social media and notices in residents’ bills were mentioned as being considered.

The current contract began May 1, 2015, and is scheduled to expire April 30, 2022. The extension would lengthen the agreement from May 1, 2022, to April 30, 2027.

Future annual rate increases for base service, special service and compost service   beginning May 1, 2022, would be 3 percent or the amount of the consumer price index, whichever is higher. 

Cargie expressed concern regarding a change under the extension that would allow Roy Strom to start charging recycling pass-through costs monthly to the village, noting such costs are likely to rise. 

Those costs, which currently average $3,500 per month, are not being charged to the village at Roy Strom’s discretion. 

  Trustees informally endorsed the suggestion by Anderson to include representation from the Sustainability Commission on the village’s contract negotiation team.

Village Administrator Eric Palm said he expects to have a contract ready for board consideration by the end of April.

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