No more trash superpowers for Chicago aldermen?

October 25, 2011

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(Photo courtesy of flickr)

Chicago aldermen are very protective of their trash pick-up powers. And so, a plan to take some of those powers away was greeted a bit coldly at a city council hearing on Monday evening.

Trash pickup is now done ward-by-ward, allowing individual aldermen control over the politically important service. That goes away under Rahm Emanuel's proposed budget, which his administration tried to sell to aldermen. A handful of them weren't buying it - at least not yet.

"I don't feel at this point that I have enough information," Ald. Pat Dowell (3) said.

"I think a lot of us need to get some more information," said Ald. Debra Silverstein (50).

Alderman John Pope (10) said, "I would really like to have a briefing so we know what's in play, what's the general concept."

Alderman Latasha Thomas (17) insisted the briefing take place before the council votes on the budget.

Streets and Sanitation Commissioner Tom Byrne couldn't answer a lot of aldermen's questions about how the new trash pickup would work - and most importantly, how their special trash requests would be granted. He said a consultant is still drafting the plan.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has said grid garbage pickup is more efficient, and would save $20 million a year. But aldermen were even skeptical of that number.