CHICAGO (CBS) — The City of Chicago has been providing garbage collection at no cost to more than 1,100 nonprofits, losing almost $450,000, according to a report released Wednesday by the Office of the Inspector General.
According to the report, Chicago Streets and Sanitation has been picking up garbage from 1,182 nonprofits for free, but free pickup violates Chicago’s municipal code.
As of Jan. 1, 2016, all recipients of city garbage collection service were to pay $9.50 per month, but that has not been happening, resulting in the $449,160 loss.
Free garbage collection costs the city $134,748 a year in lost value, the report stated.
Nonprofits on the list include:
- 911 religious entities
- 94 private schools
- 48 uncategorized entities
- 45 recreational or community centers
- 28 government offices
- 23 day care centers
- 17 shelters
- 12 medical/rehab centers
- 4 other schools
Streets and Sanitation failed to maintain a complete list of organizations receiving free garbage collection. According to the OIG report, at least 25 properties receive free city garbage service but were not included in the list. “And there may be many more,” the report said, noting that additional lost money could not be calculated with exact numbers.
The report states that in 2014 OIG audited the department and concluded it was providing garbage collection service to 1,393 nonprofits without legal authorization. DSS said its authorizing ordinance in the Municipal Code of Chicago gave it broad discretion to provide service to those entities at an annual cost to the city of $3,316,274. DSS maintained that view in a 2015 follow up audit.
In 2015 the city adopted a new portion of the code, requiring properties receiving city garbage service to pay a fee of $9.50 per month and allowing those entities previously receiving service to continue receiving it while other nonprofits, like commercial and large residential buildings, are required to hire a private garbage collector at their own expense. That went into effect January 2016.
According to the OIG, the department stated, “At this time, the continued service without charge to non-profits is seen as a courtesy to institutions that provide a community benefit. The adding of garbage fees to nonprofits may be re-considered as part of the 2019 Budget Recommendations.”