Grayslake trustees voted unanimously Tuesday night to seek requests for proposals (RFPs) for potential commercial waste/recycling franchises.
A single commercial waste and recycling franchise is anticipated to save about 35 to 40 percent for local businesses.
"I think it's a good idea to pursue this," said Trustee Kevin Waldenstrom.
Mayor Rhett Taylor added that should the village enter into a contract for commercial waste/recycling services, it would have "no impact whatsoever on the residential services you receive today."
The village held a public hearing on the matter just before the board's meeting Tuesday.
Steve Lawrence, past president of the Grayslake Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry, said the move started as a topic that came up during a chamber board of directors meeting around the time of the electric aggregation vote. Chamber board members had heard of what was being done in Highland Park, where 82 percent of businesses were able to reduce their garbage and recycling costs with a single franchise.
Lawrence said the chamber performed an informal survey of its members regarding whether they would like to have a single waste/recycling hauler, and the response was largely positive.
"I have 100 percent confidence that you guys are making the right decision," Lawrence told the village board.
Penny Macenas, executive director of the National Solid Wastes Management Association, attended the meeting "to strongly oppose the exclusive contract." Macenas said the single contract would be "nothing more than the creation of a monopoly."
Macenas said a single waste/recycling franchise would preclude businesses from being able to choose their own vendor and would eliminate a customizable service.
"Small business owners will lose their right to look around for the best price," said Macenas.
She also asserted that the move would impose a hidden tax in the form of a franchise fee for the business owners.
Walter Willis, executive director of the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County (SWALCO), said that is absolutely not the case.
"I really don't know what she's talking about. There is no franchise fee. So there is no hidden fee," said Willis.
He added that the move is not a monopoly.
"You are simply entering the bidding world with a much more lucrative situation," said Willis.
Willis said the single waste/recycling franchise is not something that has been pushed on the business community. Rather, the process has been inclusive, with business owners being surveyed regarding their feelings about the issue.
Willis said the public relations campaign done by the National Solid Wastes Management Association, including the automated calls to residents, was inaccurate. SWALCO, he said, is indeed a true local government organization. He added that SWALCO will not receive any money as a result of its participation in this process.
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