BLOOMINGTON — The city of Bloomington is changing the way it picks up bulky waste, starting next week with a citywide free curbside collection.
The city is shifting away from curbside bulky waste pickup every other week, in which a household's first front-end loader bucket of waste was free, to free curbside collection of any amount of bulky waste twice a year, once in spring and once in fall.
The spring bulky waste collection will be on Tuesday, and the fall collection will be on Oct. 1.
On those two days, residents need to have their bulk waste out on the curb by 6 a.m. to ensure pickup.
In February, the City Council approved limiting bulky waste pickups at the curb to twice a year and raising fees by $4 each for its two larger garbage carts to close a $1.1 million annual deficit in the solid waste disposal program.
"Crews will start on Tuesday going throughout the community. We're putting all of our resources toward trying to do a quick pickup." said Bloomington Public Works Director Jim Karch. "We're throwing five different crews at it with many trucks."
Residents can go to the city's website, www.cityblm.org, to track where crews have picked up bulky waste during the spring collection.
"We realize we will not be able to complete that collection all in one day," said Karch. "We expect this full city collection will take upwards of a week to complete. We are instructing our crews to pick up everything they see along the way because we won't be going back."
In between pickups, residents will be able to dispose of bulky waste for free at the city's drop-off center, which has been renamed the Citizen’s Convenience Center, at 402 S. East St. The center will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Karch said.
Residents also will be able to request curbside collection of bulky waste for $25 per end-loader bucket.
The new monthly garbage cart rates will be $25 for the 65-gallon cart and $29 for the 95-gallon cart, but the $16 per month fee for the 35-gallon cart and low-income refuse fee, also $16, remain unchanged.
Beginning May 1, 2019, all cart sizes and the low-income refuse fee will increase by 3 percent each year.
Garbage will continue to be collected weekly. Recycling and brush will be picked up every other week, all at no additional change.
Construction materials cannot be placed for bulky waste collection.
"We don't want roofing materials, shingles, concrete, asphalt, rock or sod," said Karch. "But they can leave out couches, chairs, end tables, larger lamps and things like that."
The city also collects appliances, but not TVs and monitors. Normal's electronics recycling drop-off center at the town's public works facility, 1301 Warriner St., takes those items.
"We're giving a grace period so we can try to encourage this change in behavior," said Karch. "This is really going to be hard for a lot of folks."
If a bulky waste item has been placed at the curb without a request for pickup at the owner's expense, "we'll slap a sticker on it, put something on the door letting people know about the new practice," said Karch. "We'll give you two weeks to take it off the curb."
If the item is left at the curb after two weeks, the city will collect it and automatically charge the resident through the water/city services bill.
Designated as an enterprise fund in the city budget, solid waste collection is supposed to be self-funded by user fees, but the chronically insufficient revenue was projected to leave a $1.1 million gap in the $7.4 million program for fiscal 2019.
"The intention of these changes is to have the solid waste program pay for itself," said Karch.