“All over the country and in smaller municipalities, they do pay for garbage collection. In Chicago, free garbage collection is something we’ve become accustomed to. But just like not having a sales tax on services, those days may be over. We have to look at it to balance the books.”

Four years ago, Inspector General Joe Ferguson estimated that a volume-based, “pay-as-you-throw” garbage collection fee could generate as much as $125 million a year for the cash-strapped city. Chicago could raise an additional $18 million a year by imposing a blue cart recycling fee, Ferguson said then. Emanuel ignored both ideas, apparently concerned it would be viewed as a back-door property tax increase.
But now that the Illinois Supreme Court has overturned state pension reforms and placed Emanuel’s plan to reform two of