I am writing to express my concern over the unwillingness of the Lake Bluff Village Board to enforce the village ordinance which requires that garbage and recycling materials be placed for pick-up in the approved and closed garbage and recycling containers. This is a matter that I have brought to the Board’s and Village Administrator’s attention on multiple occasions without result.
Permitting open containers and additional garbage and recycling items to be placed on parkways has two negative effects – (1) a very unsightly appearance inconsistent with what we should want the Lake Bluff image (“brand”) to be and (2) substantial additional litter on our streets and parkways resulting from the loose material blowing through our neighborhoods.
As one who, for years, has spent 5-10 hours a week picking up litter as I run, walk, or ride a bike around town (which I am glad to do and which running I am lucky to be able to do at my age), I am especially conscious of the very large volume of litter that accumulates on a regular basis and the likely sources of it. It is especially frustrating that a large percentage of it clearly results from the deliberate refusal of Village President Kathy O’Hara and the Village trustees to take logical steps to enforce the waste disposal ordinance that, as Village Board members, she and I voted to adopt several years ago. Instead, the semi-annual event when residents are allowed to put anything out on the parkway really occurs every week, since Groot’s drivers will pick up refuse no matter how it is placed, without consequence for, or even a notice issued to, those who fail to comply with the existing ordinance.
We are fortunate to have a very convenient public works facility that virtually all residents drive by several times weekly, if not daily. Why can those whose waste doesn’t fit in the approved, closed containers (extra ones of which may be requested) not be expected to spend a few extra minutes dropping their overflow refuse there, or otherwise requesting a “special pick-up”? Allowing the excess to be dumped out on our parkways and to blow all over the neighborhood is, or at least should be, intolerable in any community, but especially in one whose residents and community leaders claim to be environmentally conscious and promoting “sustainable” policies.
Instead, the current practice is about to be made worse. At its meeting this coming Monday, the Board is scheduled to consider final approval of a new contract with Groot that will include an environmentally offensive “pay as you throw” policy that is as bad as it sounds. Residents would be permitted to buy stickers to place on bags of garbage they can place on Village parkways for pick-up. Failure to place such a sticker on a bag will result in an onerous $2 charge, for which tiny sum there is a wholly unrealistic expectation that Groot drivers will record the offender’s address, if it can be observed, and that Groot will then incur the overhead expense of processing invoices for these miniscule amounts, rather than doing what they currently do, which is simply to pick up anything residents happen to toss out next to their containers.
In a town with such a natural aesthetic appeal, arguably our number one selling point, why do such policies and practices exist and persist that undermine and deface it? Is this really the “brand” that the Village is paying a consultant to develop?
I strongly urge fellow residents to communicate with Village President O’Hara and Village Board members before Monday’s Board meeting to ask them (1) to enforce the existing ordinance and (2) not to allow additional bags of garbage to be placed (“thrown”) on our parkways outside of the Groot containers. To do so, please e-mail Village Administrator Drew Irvin at firstname.lastname@example.org, and he will share your message with the Board members. Thank you.
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