Just the Facts

The purpose of this feature is to be transparent and direct with the community about topics relating to the City of DeKalb. The feature is an effort by the City of DeKalb to dispel rumors and clear up confusion on a variety of matters. Just the Facts will be updated as rumors, misperceptions, or topics of confusion arise in the community. 

Jul 19

Lakeshore Recycling Systems

Posted on July 19, 2018 at 10:24 AM by Ray Munch

On June 25, 2018, City Council passed a resolution authorizing a five-year contract for the collection of refuse (garbage), recyclables, and yard waste with Lakeshore Recycling Systems (LRS).  As the City works with LRS to transition from the current service provider, the City would like to take the opportunity to provide residents with an overview of the upcoming services.  

Click here for a video introduction to LRS

1.  When does the LRS contract for the collection of refuse, recyclables, and yard waste take effect?

The contract with LRS begins September 1, 2018, with the first residential pick-ups scheduled for Thursday, September 6, 2018, due to the Labor Day Holiday. 

2.  Will the refuse services continue without interruption during the transition period?

There will be no interruptions in service.  LRS plans to begin delivering carts in mid-August.  The current service provider will begin picking up their carts the week of August 27, 2018, which coincides with their last week of scheduled pick-ups.   

3.  Do I need to submit a request for the delivery of LRS carts?

No requests are necessary.  By default, all residents in single family and multi-family homes with an active, City of DeKalb, utility/garbage account will receive one (1) 95-gallon cart for refuse and one (1) 65-gallon cart for recyclables. 

4.  May I request an additional cart or a larger recycling cart?

Yes, residents may request an additional 95-gallon refuse and/or recycling cart at no additional charge.  Residents may also request to exchange the 65-gallon recycling cart they receive for a 95-gallon recycling cart. 

5.  What if I need a 65-gallon garbage cart?

Senior citizens and residents living in multi-family (attached homes) may request a 65-gallon refuse cart in place of the 95-gallon cart. 

6.  How do I submit a request for an additional cart or a smaller cart, as described?

Beginning Monday, July 23, 2018, residents may begin to submit those requests online at https://www.lrsrecycles.com/dekalb/ or by dialing the number posted on the website.  LRS recommends residents with internet access submit special requests online to avoid extended phone hold times for those with no internet access.

7.  May I continue using my own garbage, recycle or yard-waste cart or container?

Residents may use their own carts or containers.  Resident owned carts or containers must weigh less than 50-lbs, not exceed 32-gallons in size and have two handles.

8.  Will my pick-up day be the same as it is now?

LRS will keep the same schedule as the previous service provider.  However, the time of day your collection occurs may vary during the transition phase as LRS works to increase efficiency.   

9.  Has the lower monthly rate resulted in a reduction of services?

All core services stay the same with only one (1) exception. The new contract eliminates the City’s three (3) sites for landscape waste at Fire Station #2 1154 South 7th Street, 950 W. Dresser Road, and the southeast corner of North 7th Street and Oak Street.  These facilities had become prone to abuse and misuse.

10.  What are the core services included in this contract?

The new contract provides three categories of core residential services. 

a)    Garbage.  The new contract includes the weekly collection of refuse.  Garbage collections will occur on the same day as your previously scheduled collection day.  LRS will provide one (1) 95-gallon cart as part of the service.  Residents may use their own carts for extra garbage.  However, they must weigh less than 50-lbs, not exceed 32-gallons in size, and have two handles.  Residents may request an additional 95-gallon refuse or recycling cart at no additional charge, (refer to #4). 

One (1) appliance such as a refrigerator or stove may be placed out for collection each week.

b)    Recyclables.  The weekly collection of recyclable waste is also part of the services.  Collections for recyclable materials will occur on the same day as your refuse collection day.  LRS will provide one (1) 65-gallon for recyclables as part of the service.  Residents may use their own carts for extra recyclables.  However, they must weigh less than 50-lbs, not exceed 32-gallons in size, and have two handles.  Please clearly mark your cart with the word recycling to indicate additional recyclables. Residents may request an additional 95-gallon refuse or recycling cart at no additional charge, (refer to #4). 

c)  Yard Waste. The weekly collection of yard waste is also part of the services.  Yard waste collection will occur on the same day as your garbage and recycling.  LRS will collect yard waste from April 1 through the end of November.  Yard waste includes garden trimmings, branches and brush under two inches (2”) in diameter, leaves, flowers, tree droppings (crabapples and pinecones), garden plants, vines, weeds, and grass clippings.  Place yard waste in a biodegradable landscape waste bags or open garbage cans marked with “YW or X”, not to exceed 32-gallons and 50-lbs.  Brush must be cut to 4-foot lengths and bundled with biodegradable twine or string, not to exceed 50 pounds. 

LRS will provide annual Christmas tree collections for the first two weeks in January.  LRS will offer 65-gallon and 95-gallon carts for yard waste. These are optional and available for residents to rent for a small fee billed quarterly by LRS.  

  • 65-gallon yard waste cart = $3.00 per month
  • 95-gallon yard waste cart = $5.00 per month

11.  What new services are provided by LRS?

a)  Electronic Waste (E-waste) Collection. Beginning October 2018, LRS will begin collecting E-Waste on resident’s first regularly scheduled pickup day of every month.  E-Waste items include the following items, computer mice, computer monitors, computers, digital converter boxes, digital video disc players, digital video disc recorders, fax machines, keyboards, portable digital music players, printers, satellite receivers, scanners, small-scale servers, televisions, video game consoles, and videocassette recorders.

Smaller E-Waste items may be placed at the curb in a brown paper bag or a 24” x 24” x 24” or smaller cardboard box.  Please mark the box as EWASTE. E-waste should be separate from the garbage, recyclables, and yard waste containers and easy for the driver to identify.  Residents with televisions and monitors weighing over 50 pounds or larger than 19 inches should contact LRS customer service department prior to the scheduled collection day. 

b)  Household Hazardous Wastes (HHW).  Beginning in the Spring of 2019, LRS will introduce a new service for the collection of HHW.  LRS will collect HHW materials from your front door or driveway. More information will be provided for residents as it becomes available. 

c) Organic Food Scraps (OFS).  During the yard waste collection season, residents may mix OFS with yard waste.  Acceptable OFS include bread, cereal, coffee grounds, dairy, egg shells, eggs, fruits, grain, pasta, shells, and vegetables. 

12. How do I notify LRS that my refuse, recycling, or yard waste was not picked collected?

Please contact LRS at (815) 770-7550 or email your name, phone number, and address to DeKalb@LRSrecycles.com to notify customer service which waste material(s) were not collected.  

For regular updates, please visit our website at www.cityofdekalb.com.  You may also follow us on Facebook and Twitter at @cityofdekalb_IL.  Please call Patrick DiDiana at (815) 748-8135 or patrick.didiana@cityofdekalb.com with questions and concerns.

May 08

Food Trucks

Posted on May 8, 2018 at 12:25 PM by Ray Munch

The Daily Chronicle recently ran a story on April 29, 2018, entitled “Food truck blockade:  Mobile eateries might be out less this season, owner says.”  This front page story has generated some interest and public comment on the topic of food trucks and their role in the community, as well as questions regarding the current food truck regulations.

1.         The City had not been contacted by Ms. Veronica Garcia-Martinez, food truck owner quoted in the story, and thus did not have an opportunity to assist her in her ventures by advising her about a provision in the code that allows for a fee waiver.

The owner quoted in the story expresses concerns that the City’s food truck regulations are business unfriendly in that the fees associated with food truck licenses are believed to be too high.  Unfortunately, she never contacted the City to discuss that concern.  Had she done so, staff could have discussed with her specific sections of the City Code that authorize the Mayor to waive or reduce fees associated with food truck licensure where they present a hardship to a business owner or other interested licensee.  Specifically, the existing code provides as follows:

Any person who feels that such cost of licensing and investigation would work a hardship may appeal such cost to the Mayor. The Mayor may make a determination upon examination of the appellant's financial records or on such other information as he feels necessary. Upon finding such a hardship exists, the Mayor may reduce or waive such licensing and investigative costs. Any waiving or reduction of costs, however, will not affect the obligation to register.
Click here for a link to Chapter 33 of the Municipal Code

City staff will reach out to this owner and work to address any concerns she may have with operating in the City, just as the City does with any similar issue.

2.         The City was not contacted by the writer for any comment on the Daily Chronicle Story. 

Had the City been contacted for comment, relevant information could have been provided to the newspaper to help ensure that the article included important facts (such as the fee waiver or reduction provisions in City Code).  The City is available to local media for any inquiries on topics of interest to the public; no request for comment was made here.

3.         The City’s Food Truck Code was adopted unanimously by the City Council in 2013 and has been in effect since that date without significant issue.

The City Council evaluated the need for food truck licensure in 2013 and determined that this ordinance (and the fee structure) was appropriate, by a unanimous vote.  It has remained in effect for five years.

4.         Staff is presently working on a number of ‘beta tests’ for updates to City Code, to evaluate different ways to reduce the scope of regulations while still protecting public safety.

In 2017, the Rotary Club conducted their Trucktober food truck event and expressed some concerns about the rigors of the event and food truck permitting for a temporary event of that nature.  After that event, City staff has been working diligently with the Rotary to streamline the process for their anticipated 2018 event.  Staff is also working on a number of other public events for 2018 that consider new approaches to public service of alcohol and related public regulations.  Those events will be presented to the City Council for consideration of changes to the code. Based on lessons learned from these events, staff will recommend updates to City Code prior to the 2019 event season.  These processes were all underway prior to the Chronicle story.  This measured approach should provide the City Council with objective data from which it can direct changes to the City’s ordinances.

5.         The City is always looking for ways to improve operations and be business friendly while doing so in a way that does not jeopardize public safety.

Certainly, it would be less expensive and simpler for food trucks to operate without any licensure or inspection.  The same could be said of nearly every other form of licenses issued by the City or by other units of government.  However, the reason that license and inspection requirements exist is to protect public safety.

Where a business owner or resident has a concern about a specific regulation, the City is always willing to listen to that concern and evaluate ways to update City Code—or, as described above, to advise of existing provisions in City Code that may address the concern.

Apr 13

Does the City engage in sanitary inspections of food service establishments?

Posted on April 13, 2018 at 1:44 PM by Ray Munch

The City recently received the following inquiry:

If 16.01 of the City Code reads, “The licensing and sanitary inspection of food service and food store establishments within the City of DeKalb shall be conducted by the DeKalb County Health Department, in accordance with rules and regulations prescribed by the DeKalb County Code,” were the City’s recent actions for Lord Stanley’s, Common Grounds, and the Annex in conflict with the city code?

The City does not engage in sanitary inspections of food service establishments in the fashion that the County Health Department does.  There is no discrepancy in this instance.  The City does not test food temperatures, verify disinfectant measures, review food preparation and expiration dates, or take similar actions that are “in accordance with rules and regulations prescribed by the DeKalb County Code.”  The City does not have codes that address food temperature or preparation. 

However, pursuant to the very next paragraph in the Section cited by the resident who posed the above question, the City is authorized to conduct fire-life safety inspections at food service establishments.  In the course of those inspections, as outlined in the remainder of that Section, the City enforces those requirements which also include an evaluation as to whether the “building’s management, owner, or occupants conduct, maintain or allow to exist conditions or violations of any/all locally adopted building codes, this Municipal code and the Unified Development Ordinance of the City…or which are a menace to the health safety or general welfare of the public” (Section 16.06 (3) ).  These basic codes are applicable to all properties (restaurant or not) and address building sanitation and conditions, such as the organic growth observed to be occurring in the basement of Lord Stanley's.  If that same form of growth was observed in any property, it would have been cause for significant concern.  That it occurred in such close proximity to food may heighten the level of potential harm to the public, but the underlying violation is a violation of City code, regardless of the type of building.  The City's inspection did not extend to any matters not covered by City Code and did not violate the ordinance cited above.  Chief Building Official Mack's inspection report cited to sections of the 2015 International Property Maintenance Code, as adopted by the City, which is uniformly applicable to all structures in the City. The City does and will always defer to the Health Department on food-related items as the City Code is currently written.