Rahm Switching Garbage Collection to Grid System

By Chuck Sudo in News on Aug 12, 2011 1:38PM

Mayor Emanuel announced yesterday that he would move to switch garbage collection in the city to a grid-based system which will save the city around $60 million a year. It was a proposal first floated by Richard M. Daley during the final months of his mayoralty and will certainly be opposed by some aldermen who have long contended the current ward-based system is "good customer service" but, as regular reader Navin noted, is more often than not used to wield control over a ward's housekeeping services.

Emanuel is convinced the savings to the city outweighs is worth stepping on the egos of a few powerful aldermen. Lest anyone think Rahm is looking to pick a fight with City Council, however, he's charged his top aides with looking for ways to convince aldermen a grid system is the way to go. 40th Ward Ald. Pat O'Connor, Emanuel's City Council floor leader, told the Sun-Times, “We don’t know the plan or whether we can implement it [in time] to get in a full year of savings. But the decision has been made to go down the road and see what a grid would look like. The administration can’t pass up the possibility to try and implement it.”

Emanuel is likely looking at the way aldermen reacted when Daley revoked privileges for a dedicated street sweeper in each ward in favor of a grid system. O'Connor believes that any switch to grid-based garbage pickup should allow for certain controls for aldermen to immediately respond to emergency situations. 32nd Ward Ald. Scott Waguespack is okay with Emanuel switching to a grid-based system, but admits, "a lot of aldermen will fight that tooth and nail (to retain control of garbage collection). What they’re saying is, ‘You still get the calls, but you don’t have any control.’ ”