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Illinois nanny city now requiring $50 trash cans

By   /   September 11, 2013  /   News  /   35 Comments

By Benjamin Yount | Illinois Watchdog

BLOOMINGTON — The City of Bloomington, which thinks it knows how to run taxi cabs and when you should mow your lawn, now knows better than you how big your trash can should be.

THIS IS YOUR TRASH CAN: There are many like it, but Bloomington Illinois says this one is yours.

THIS IS YOUR TRASH CAN: There are many like it, but Bloomington Illinois says this one is yours.

This city of about 76,000 people in central Illinois is now requiring residents buy $50 trash cans, with an emphasis on the 96-gallon size.

Bloomington’s city council on Monday approved spending $950,000 to buy 19,000 trash cans, and those costs will be passed on to residents.

“The city looked at best practices and safe work conditions for the employees and made the choice to go with (automated collections),” Alex McElroy the assistant to Bloomington’s city manager, told Illinois Watchdog. “The main goal is not to have employees getting out of the truck regularly.”

Bloomington had thought about privatizing its garbage collection as recently as April, but after the city’s public employee unions balked, the city council caved.

Alderman Judy Stearns said at the time the idea of outsourcing some city services “has hurt city morale.” She pleaded with Bloomington leaders to keep services like garbage pick-up on the city’s payroll.

The city has 48 full-time and part-time employees in the solid waste division. It costs Bloomington taxpayers $7 million a year for the city to collect garbage. By comparison, Bloomington will spend $14 million on road resurfacing next year. Bloomington’s city budget is just over $83 million.

“It’s going to cost us more money,” Bloomington Mayor Teri Renner noted Tuesday. “I would have voted against it. But the council approved it and we’re moving forward.”

CITY SERVICES = CITY PAYS: Bloomington refused to privatize services because it hurt morale.

CITY SERVICES = CITY PAYS: Bloomington refused to privatize services because it hurt morale.

It’s not yet known what it will cost taxpayers.

Bloomington charges $16 a month for trash services. McElroy said the city hasn’t decided if it will simply add the $50 trash can fee to the monthly charge or increase the garbage fee in another way.

“We’re currently toward the end of a year-long analysis of our solid waste system,” McElroy said. “The fee may go up.”

If it does, taxpayers are going to have to work to find out about the hike.

The headlines in Bloomington barley mentioned the new garbage can mandate.

If news outlets did mention the new fee, they focused that Bloomington’s mandate comes with a choice between three sizes of the same trash can.

Contact Benjamin Yount at [email protected] and find him on Twitter @BenYount.


Ben formerly served as staff reporter for Watchdog.org.

  • TBorNot

    Ha ha! It’s a trap! Here in San Diego they figured out a GREAT way to make money, set the gripper on the trash trucks just a little bit tighter every day. This only slightly tighter grip breaks the plastic trash can lid hinge, allowing the lid to get thrown into the truck. An entire street can have broken lids, which forces the residents to buy new cans (and the city gets a cut!)

  • hugh

    This kind of management is why people and Businesses are fleeing the state in droves…..screw the taxpayer and reward the Unions….it’s the Illinois Way!!!!!

  • WeAreTheCure

    LOL nice going Bloomington! Your city is a joke, and so is the union that controls it!

  • Anonymous1

    Wait until they tell you how many kids you are allowed to have…

  • Randle

    Thanks OBAMA!

  • Michael Hannigan

    Don’t look now, but those non-descript, plain-Jane tractor trailer trucks you see leaving Illinois on I-57 and I-24 (S) are leaving Illinois. What’s inside? machinery, office equipment, materials, etc. for moving their business South out of TAXinois.
    The California Emigration- Midwestern Phase.
    HeHeHeHe!!! Can’t blame the Republicans for this fiasco, Illini!

  • Fat Hubie

    My garbage collection company brought me one of those cans for FREE!

  • Joe the Plumber

    Why do you hate a city effectively managing its trash pickup to save money for its residents?

    Right – you are a right wing loon.

  • Finrod Felagund

    Only a liberal would think spending money is saving it.

  • Kenny_Bania

    more important question – why is it called ‘nanny city’?

  • rod

    Where are you getting your info?i work for city.all numbers were ran.your cost would almost triple if you go private.the department has shrunk dramaticlly.union has agreed to make huge cuts in pay and benifits.pls for the love of god stop spewing lies and misinformation.a garbage collector in bloomington not only collects trash,but also this same employee plows snow,collects leaves,bulk waste picks up recycle.yes go private.see if u can get all this for 18 dollars a month.what a joke..

  • rod

    Cost of carts are comming out of general fund…get your facts straight

  • rod

    What union is that?

  • rod

    And you can go private anytime you want.american,henson,or one of few others.20 to 30 dollars.once a week pick up.anything extra…extra cost.

  • rod

    And remember my union hating friends….Hales and many others want unions out just as bad as you do.but they sat in same meetings as i and it always came out cheaper for residents to stay with union than go private.all services you get now would go bye bye.

  • rod

    Correct joe.the residents have NO idea how much they are saving with everything thats been going on last 5 years.

  • rod

    Yes a zero and 1 % raise in pay for last two years….yes we are on control!!!!damm you found us out!!!!what an idiot…

  • I would bet your garbage collection company factors the cost of the trash can into the fee they charge you.

  • I live in the sticks and I pay $23 a month for weekly trash pick-up from a private trash collection company, using an automated system with a provided 100 gal trash bin. What is the beef here?

  • Judith Ann Webster

    Considering the number of times that our trash cans are left rolling in the street or caved in on their sides, maybe the automated trucks will at least know how to replace the cans on the curb. Between raising the water fees, the sewer fees, limiting bulk pick-ups & adding fees to them, and the constant raising of trash removal (mind you, that grass clippings are prohibited & lawn waste is handled seperately), the city utilities bill is beginning to rival the property taxes. Maybe we should just go back to burning our trash – warm our homes & reduce the need of these overprice “city services”…………..

  • David

    Whatever happened to the guys riding on the back of the trucks and doing work? They get paid way to much for pushing a button to lift a trash can. Boo to IL!.

  • wwwraystevenscom

    If I were a betting person, I would venture to guess that for quite some time, the city council & the mayors of Bloomington have been Democrats?

    Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere
    ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
    M.L. King

    I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.
    Thomas Jefferson

    As government expands, liberty contracts.
    Ronald Reagan

  • wwwraystevenscom

    And where does the money in the general fund come from?
    Tax payers
    So the tax payers get hit twice: once @ tax time & again with this stupidity.

  • Marty Funkhouser

    When are we going to see a correction on this story? Residents are not being required to buy anything. They’re not going to be charged a thing. The second paragraph is wrong.

  • AustinTXmom

    LOL we have these garbage cans in Austin TX and no one calls us a nanny city..

  • AustinTXmom

    oh that would be a republican thing.. rich can have 4, middle class 2 and poor NONE.. hahahaha you wait, but yet you may agree!!! lol

  • AustinTXmom

    it’s not FREE you paid for your can in taxes.. what’s the tax rate there versus where you are? nothing is FREE (only in the minds of tea baggers where everyone is getting free stuff LOL)

  • AustinTXmom

    figured out?? jeez.. so start a movement to go back to human pick up 😉 ya know, bennies, retirement, health insurance.. etc.. sick time.. machines aren’t perfect here in Austin they do break also, not a lot but on occasion a fallacy about Texas is we have low taxes.. dude we are taxed to heck and back, high homeowner tax, TOLL (tax) roads instead of free roads paid by the taxpayers, here we taxpayers help pay for roads and then ar tolled and some private company owns the road, thank you Rickless Perry..

  • AustinTXmom

    where do you live? the sticks!!! try that in Austin LOLOLOL are Dallas.. if I lived in the ‘sticks’ I’d have a compost pile.. can’t do that here in austin heck no! so you pay 250.00$ a year (approx) for garbage.. what’s your tax rate? what’s your school rating? got toll roads? Texas is a hole.

  • WeAreTheCure

    I got one from my garbage company as well…for FREE!

  • WeAreTheCure

    Actually, they don’t. The can is designed to make the job more efficient, which provides cost savings to the company.

  • OldTimerUSNCB

    Evendinly your are either not smart enough to realize it or just another brain dead Kool Aid drinker, when Government services are privatized they are non Public Union workers, they don’t get 30 days paid vacation every year and 20 days paid sick leave or 15 paid holidays or 20 days personal time for hang overs fancy City Uniforms and something its hard for a liberal to understand COMPETITION or bidding always gets the lowest price as other Government contracts require under Law and your local Politicians are not getting campaign kick backs from Union Boss’s to raise wages every six months.

  • SomeGuyInTexas

    Well, duh, you live in the county with by far the highest taxes in the state. It also happens to be the county with the highest concentration of politicians and big government types, so go figure.

  • MomAtHome

    And I bet they tell you to put the can on the curb the night before. Does somebody have a disabled grandma who can sue under Americans with Disabilities Act? What are they trying to do, limit how much trash you can put out?

  • donney149

    I thought people wanted government OUT of their lives. Let’s see…toilets, lightbulbs, healthcare, trash cans; when does the bullshit stop?