Officials worry about making changes in the middle of the year

By Dave Fidlin

Correspondent

A plan to expand the frequency of yard waste pickup for Union Grove residents will be sidelined for the remainder of the year, based on a group’s recent consensus.

Members of the Union Grove Administration Committee on June 23 said they believed it would be prudent to hold off expanding the service and revisit it once planning for the 2021 municipal budget picks up steam.

“It’s something, I think, we can plan for next year,” Village Administrator Mike Hawes as he discussed the issue with committee members.

John’s Disposal, the village’s contracted hauler, has been picking up yard waste on a designated day each month — the last Friday — at a cost of $8,076 annually. But requests to expand the service have bubbled to the surface from residents and elected officials.

Discussion of expanding the frequency of the service beyond once a month began this spring as several residents expressed interest in having more options so yard waste does not pile up.

Logistically, Hawes said, the mid-year maneuver of expanded service could be punitive to the village’s operating budget.

“Adding yard waste disposal services in the middle of the year may not be a cost-effective endeavor because it will take time for most of the public to become aware of the additional service,” Hawes said.

Moreover, Hawes said the switch at this point in the calendar could result in confusion, particularly since municipal staffers have been communicating the once-per-month service since it was first rolled out early in 2019.

Trustee Peter Hansen, who chairs the Administration Committee, said he believed waiting until next year would be a prudent move to avoid any misunderstanding within the community.

“The simpler, I think, the better for everybody,” Hansen said. “We don’t want it to be confusing. It could take a lot to get (expanded service) going and for people to figure it out.”

Based on a preliminary analysis, Hawes said there are several options in the mix with John’s Disposal, including an additional offering each month, a truck drop-off option and the routine use of a Dumpster for collection.

Tentative number crunching beyond the different options could add $3,075 to $5,000, annually, to the trash and recycling line item on the village’s expense ledger.