End of curbside recycling pickup could be near with City Council vote on revamped program next week

Recycling tubs

Residents could use their current bins to haul their recycling to one of four sites around Quincy | File photo

City also considering a week-long citywide cleanup

QUINCY — The Quincy City Council will get its first look next week at a plan approved by the Central Services Committee on Monday to revamp the city’s recycling program.

The committee also learned of possible changes to the citywide cleanup program this year and possible improvements to one of the city’s major streets that aren’t expected to happen for a few years.

City Engineer Jeffrey Conte told committee members collection locations for recycling bins will be placed at yet-to-be determined locations on the north, south and east sides of the city. As many as six bins could be at one site. The ordinance that aldermen will vote on next week will call for the bins to be available as early as March 1, 2023.

Conte estimated the city will spend approximately $100,000 per site for the bins, access platforms and security cameras. He said it will take about 15 weeks to have the bins delivered.

If aldermen approve the proposal, the days of curbside pickup will end.

Conte said the city received two proposals. One would handle all the work for recycling, and one left a lot of work up to the city. 

“The committee decided it works better to contract the whole project and allow (the city) to reallocate those employees,” Conte said. 

Eliminating the recycling department would free up the equivalent of 4½ employees. Conte thought the city would assign three of them to concrete work and one to nuisance abatement.

“I see a much bigger return on what we’re paying our employees to do,” Conte told the committee. “They’re actually going to be improving the infrastructure, as opposed to just driving around and picking up trash or recyclables.”

The committee voted to approve a resolution that would change the citywide cleanup program from a single-day event on the last Saturday in September to a week-long event. Aldermen will vote on the resolution next week.

Conte said Republic Services is having problems with drivers, and they typically need 10 to 15 drivers for the single-day citywide cleanup. Instead, the drop-off site at the old Motorola building parking lot at 30th and Locust would be open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Eric Entrup, R-1, asked if Republic could select one day during the week when people could drop off items later in the day. Kelly Mays, R-3, suggested not having the site open one morning that week to accommodate later drop-offs.

“I just feel like for a lot of the general public that 7 (a.m.) to 1 (p.m.) window Monday through Friday is not going to really work,” Entrup said.

Conte said he would take both recommendations to Republic before the full council voted on the measure.

Chuck Bevelheimer, director of planning and development, also told the committee about the possibility of adding curbs, gutters and sidewalks to State Street, an Illinois state route (Ill. 96),  from 24th Street to 36th Street. He asked for the committee’s OK to apply for a grant of approximately $10 to $12 million from the federal Safe Streets and Roads for All program.

“I’ve been talking with the state for about 20 to 25 years about the need to change State Street from a rural section, which basically is two lanes with an open ditch, to an urban section, which is a road with curbs, gutters and sidewalks,” Bevelheimer said.

He also said this would present an opportunity for a jurisdictional transfer about the state taking over Illinois 96 and moving it to 36th Street from State Street to Broadway. That would allow the city to take over State Street from 24th to 36th

“We could partner with the state, and we would have to come up with a match,” Bevelheimer said. “The state’s always been OK with us taking over State Street. Now we have an opportunity to make that happen.”

Bevelheimer must turn in an application for the Safe Streets and Roads for All program by Sept. 15.

“We’re looking a long time down the road,” Bevelheimer said. “The time period for the project is five years. That gives the state plenty of time to plan for this expense, because it’s non-federal funds. This is how planning works. You’ve got to get a game plan put together, and you’ve got to get a lot of heads saying that this makes a lot of sense for this city and for the state. I think we’ve finally got a plan.”

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