Streets and Sanitation – Eliminate the Condo Refuse Rebate Program

Savings: $6 million

The City provides annual rebates of up to $75 per unit for associations of condominium owners, cooperative buildings, and townhouses which are not eligible to receive City garbage collection services.[1]  Only 1 to 4 unit buildings receive City garbage collection.[2]

The program is administered by the City Council’s Committee on Finance. In order to apply for the program associations submit applications to their aldermen.  Applications consist of the associations’ refuse bills and other documentation.

Under this option, the program would be eliminated saving $6 million annually.

Proponents might argue that it is unfair that the City provides this rebate to owners of condominiums, coops, and townhouses but provides no similar benefit to renters who live in buildings that do not receive City garbage service (buildings larger than 4 units).  Because the City does not provide this rebate to owners of multi-unit buildings it is likely that a portion of the cost of garbage collection at buildings not served by the City and not eligible for this rebate program is passed on to the renters who live there.  Thus, renters in these buildings may bear more of the cost of garbage collection than condominium owners, even though they are likely to be less wealthy. Opponents might argue that the program is necessary because it is unfair that the City provides garbage collection service to 1 to 4 unit buildings and not to others.  Additionally, eliminating the program eliminates a subsidy that the residents of these buildings cannot afford in the current economic climate.



Budget Details

Dept: Finance General, 099 Bureau: NA
Fund: Corporate, 0100 Approp Code: For the Reimbursement and Cost of Administration of Condominium and Cooperative

Garbage Fees…, 0939

The appropriation is located on page 254 of the 2011 Annual Appropriation Ordinance.


[1] City of Chicago. Committee on Finance. “Condo Refuse Rebate Forms.”

[2] Some buildings with 5 or more units do receive City refuse pick up under a “grandfather exception.” See Chapter 7-28-240 of the Municipal Code.