WM apologizes to Roscoe for premature garbage bills


Roscoe residents Carl and Chris Dirks (front) listen as WM representatives (back) explain their policy on picking up bulk items.

Waste Management (WM) says they're sorry they sent out trash bills with higher rates before the Village of Roscoe board voted to approve the contract agreeing to higher rates. The five-year agreement will raise residential garbage collection rates from $15.00 a month to $25.50 a month, after the current contract expires on Dec. 31.

Trustees approved the contract at their Dec. 20 meeting, but some residents received invoices dated Dec. 16 or earlier, saying "Due Upon Receipt."

Lisa Disbrow, a spokesperson for WM of Illinois, Inc., told us, "On behalf of WM, we apologize our invoices were released prior to the December 20th meeting. The rates were updated prematurely due to an internal disconnect. We have put procedures in-place to correct going forward. WM does allow a grace period of 30 days based upon the invoice date prior to applying late fees. For this invoice dated December 16, WM will extend the grace period until January 31."

Like many Roscoe residents, Disbrow did not see the decision as final before the Dec. 20 meeting. On Monday, she told us, "It is our understanding this issue is on the agenda for tomorrow evening."

WM was one of only two companies who submitted bids to provide residential waste hauling services within the Village of Roscoe. At their Nov. 15 meeting, the Village board considered four main options and three alternate options, finally indicating their preference for WM's Option 2-Full Service Waste Program, includes weekly trash pickup, one bulk item each week, and every other week recycling pickup.

At the Dec. 20 board meeting, community members objected to the suddenness of the rate change. Most residents first heard of it when they got their WM bills. We reported the increase to $25.50 in a Nov. 23 story, but that number didn't appear in public documents until the day before the meeting, when the Village of Roscoe posted the Nov. 15 board meeting minutes [PDF] posted online.

Some residents speaking at the Dec. 20 board meeting protested that they were on fixed incomes and that senior citizens should get a discount.  Rock River Disposal did offer a senior discount, but it was only ten cents less than WM's bid. For other customers, Rock River Disposal was $1.40 higher than WM.

Other residents said the Village should give them the option not to pay for yard waste and bulk item collection. Sanders agreed that making solid waste optional would be cheaper for those residents - it would be $20.35 a month. But residents who have to add that option would spend an extra $150 a year, paying $32.85 a month total. WM told the Village that, according to their drivers, 70% of Roscoe residents have yard waste - 620 tons of it so far this year. Trustee Carol Gustafson said in her subdivision, only 30% said they use yard waste pickup. They burn it instead.

Village Administrator Scott Sanders has said he regretted the way the rate increase was communicated. He told the meeting, "In hindsight I think we would have done the community a service to even make them aware that an increase was coming and perhaps we should have identified the dollar value."

Disbrow says, "WM appreciates this opportunity to continue to serve the residents of Roscoe."

More News from Roscoe
I'm interested
I disagree with this
This is unverified