By Bob Uphues
Brookfield homeowners are almost sure to see their waste hauling bills tick up slightly come Jan. 1 as Groot Waste Management will exercise their right to raise its rates 3 percent as the company heads into the final six months of its contract with the village.
The owners of single-family homes will see their annual waste hauling bills rise about $10, from $355.32 to $365.88, according to a memo discussed Nov. 26 by the village board.
The increase for the owners of two-unit buildings will be about $19, from $641.52 to 660.60 annually. Multifamily residential building owners enter into private contracts with Groot for waste hauling. Commercial property owners, who also negotiate waste hauling contracts privately, are not required to use Groot for the service.
The village's contract with Groot allows the company to impose automatic 3-percent rate increases annually. Occasionally, the village has subsidized those hikes. For example, the village subsidized the increase during six months of 2017 before passing it along to homeowners.
The village's intention is to pass along to homeowners the 3 percent increase the company plans to impose in 2018.
While Groot had not officially notified the village of the increase by the Landmark's press time, the company usually sends that notification to the village in early December, said Brookfield's finance director, Doug Cooper.
In addition to Groot's increase, the village is also raising a fee for administration and waste disposal, which pays for the village's participation in the Cook County Solid Waste Agency. That fee increase, which is built into the annual hike, amounts to 30 cents annually for single-family homeowners and 60 cents for owners of two-unit buildings.
Groot has served as Brookfield's waste hauling company for decades, and the last time the village sought competitive bids for the services was in 2009. The village gave Groot a five-year deal at that time, and renewed the agreement for another five years in 2013. The present contract expires July 31, 2019.
Village Manager Timothy Wiberg told members of the village board on Nov. 26 that he had met recently with Groot's governmental affairs director. Groot would like the village to renew the contract again, Wiberg said, and would be submitting a proposal soon.
When that proposal is in hand, Wiberg said, he would bring it to the village board for discussion of whether to renegotiate the contract and renew it or seek competitive bids for waste hauling services.
Village President Kit Ketchmark said that if Brookfield were to seek competitive bids, the process for seeking proposals ought to start soon.
"If this were to go out to bid, it takes time changing over to a new company, so we'd want to get ahead of that," Ketchmark said. "I don't think we've had any complaints with Groot, and they've done a good job here. We have extended this twice already."