By Bob Uphues
The owners of single-family homes and two-unit properties won't see an increase in waste hauling fees for the second straight year, after village trustees voted unanimously on May 11 to approve a new seven-year contract with Groot Industries, the village's longtime waste hauling firm.
The services being provided by Groot during the contract term are largely the same as present levels. One change in the contract, however, calls for Groot to provide two 30-yard containers annually for e-waste collection and disposal.
"We may create one or two events annually to collect e-waste or another program model to take advantage of that addition," said Assistant Village Manager George Issakoo, who handled most of the negotiations with Groot.
While homeowners won't see a change in the rates they are being charged, Groot did agree to lower the rate it was charging the village by about 8 percent for the first year of the contract.
Currently, single-family and two-unit residential customers pay $24.80 per month for waste hauling services, which also include recycling and yard waste pickup. Beginning June 1, Groot will be charging $23 per month, and will increase that rate by 3 percent annually.
As such it will take four years before rates reach the level Groot is now charging homeowners. That doesn't necessarily mean, however, that customers' rates will be frozen until that time.
On May 11 village trustees agreed that the rate being charged to customers would stay the same in order to build up the cash reserve in the village's garbage fund, which has been used over the years for expenses related to alley maintenance and paving.
That fund has run deficits for at least the past six years, to the point where by end of 2020, the fund's cash reserves are expected to be about $34,000.
"I imagine the rate selection will be discussed annually during the budget process," Issakoo said.
Also on May 11, village trustees renewed Groot's contract to perform waste hauling services for multifamily buildings of three or more units.
Groot agreed to freeze the rates it charges for multifamily waste hauling services until June 1, 2021 when 3-percent annual increases begin.
The new agreement ends a year-long delay in finalizing a new waste hauling deal. Groot has been the waste hauler for Brookfield for decades. The last time the village board has sought competitive bids for the service was back in 2009, when Groot was given a five-year contract, which in 2013 was renewed for another five years.
That deal expired in March 2019, and the village board extended that deal twice, while deciding to either seek bids or renegotiate its deal with Groot. The village chose the latter option.