Council moves forward with garbage hauling zone plan


CHAMPAIGN — Several haulers told the city council the public works’ plan to streamline collection is trash. But, a debate at Tuesday night’s council meeting ended with that plan moving forward.

Public works says they’ve been getting complaints of garbage trucks creating noise and causing congestion, so they came up with a zoning plan to curb those issues.

The council was split on the decision. Council member Tom Bruno called it a “solution in search of a problem.” But, six other members decided it’s worth exploring more.

Haulers say the plan would hurt business and some say not implementing it hurts property values. 

“It’s like if you wanted to tell McDonald’s they can only sell Big Macs on Monday and McRibs on Tuesday.” 

Cindy Long is quick to come up with comparisons.

“That’s worse than apples to oranges. That’s squirrels to kangaroos.”

But she makes them to make a point. She’s a third-generation garbage hauler and she says the city council’s plan to address concerns with haulers should be disposed of.

“If you read right in their report, they say they have no issue with the fact that what they want to do would put haulers out of business. By splitting it into zones, there wouldn’t be enough customers to support the current licensed haulers.”

“The haulers can pick up anywhere in Champaign on any day of the week that they want to.”

Public works says that’s the problem. Eight different haulers drive down the same streets on the same days, causing congestion. Staff say a solution might be more organization.

“Maybe having less trucks in certain areas on certain days of the week.”

A few concerned citizens like the idea.

“We see garbage trucks five days a week.”

“My property suffers from it. My property value suffers horribly, and has. I’ve lived there for 27 years, and my property’s not worth much more than I paid for it.”

Public works says they get fewer than 12 garbage hauling complaint calls a year. Long says that’s reason enough for the discussion to be tossed.

“That’s point two percent of the population that’s complaining about this.”

Now, public works staff will draft a garbage collection zone proposal to go before the council for further discussion at a later time.

Right now, 28 garbage trucks collect in Champaign an average of three days a week. Public works says the combination of the number of trucks and the days they collect on is disorganized and that’s what’s causing the noise and congestion.

They say garbage totes lining the streets several days a week also detracts from a neighborhood’s overall appearance. 

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