The City passed an ordinance as part of the 2016 Budget (which Alderman Villegas voted against) that implements a $9.50 per month per dwelling unit garbage fee for residential properties currently receiving City-provided garbage service, effective January 1, 2016.
Beginning this April, Chicago residences that receive garbage collection services provided by the Department of Streets and Sanitation will begin paying a garbage service fee of $9.50 per month per dwelling unit. The fee will pay for a portion of the costs associated with weekly garbage collection provided to residences.
Roughly half of Chicago households (buildings with 5 dwelling units or more) already pay for garbage collection service from a private provider. This garbage fee impacts the other half of Chicago households (buildings with 4 dwelling units or less), receiving garbage pickup from the City. Therefore, residents living in buildings with five or more units will continue to pay for private garbage collection service, and this fee will not apply to them.
To allow for one bill and one payment for City-provided services, the garbage fee will appear on a new, unified utility bill – starting in April—that reflects charges for water and sewer services provided by the Department of Water Management and garbage services provided by the Department of Streets and Sanitation. This unified bill allows residents to receive one bill and pay all costs in one payment each billing cycle, eliminating multiple payments or separate billing cycles.
This unified City-provided utility bill will continue to follow the current water billing cycle. Meaning, if you have a water meter account, you will continue to be billed every 2 months, and if you do not have a water meter (a non-metered account), you will continue to be billed every 6 months.
The new, unified utility bill will start in April 2016, and it will include catch up charges for the garbage service provided since January 2016 along with current charges for water, sewer, and garbage services.
Please note that the City is waiving all late payment penalties for the garbage fee portion of the unified utility bill in 2016. This will help ease the transition to the unified utility bill and allow you to space out your catch up garbage fee charges throughout 2016.
Additionally, there are multiple payment plan options available for residents to pay their unified utility bills. You may apply for a payment plan option at any Department of Finance Payment Center or by calling Utility Billing Customer Service at 312-744-4426.
There is also a senior discount for the garbage fee that is different than the senior sewer exemption. Seniors who receive the Cook County Assessor’s Senior Freeze Exemption as part of their property tax bill are eligible for a discounted garbage fee. Eligible seniors will receive a 50 percent discount on the garbage fee or $4.75 per month per unit.
Lastly, to help ensure residents receive an accurate garbage bill, a simple self-certification process will be available starting in April 2016. Residents may check the number of dwelling units for their property and update that information if required.