For the past several months the City has been working on a solid-waste franchise, under which one competitively chosen waste-hauler would serve most of the businesses and residences in Evanston not now covered by City services. Pickup of both garbage and recycling would be at least weekly.

Economies of scale come in several forms – reductions in costs, noise, air pollution and use of alleys. We would also know when and by whom the community’s garbage will be picked up. Who has not noticed alleys with often-overflowing dumpsters, supposed to be picked up at different times by different haulers?

City staff have provided information that a similar franchise in Skokie saved businesses nearly $1 million by its fifth year of operation.

Yet there are some concerns with the current plan. The City has been persuaded to allow its largest institutions – Evanston Hospital, Northwestern University and St. Francis Hospital – to opt out of the program, eliminating a significant sector that could help make the franchise viable. Conversely, on the small-business end, where at least one manager has said his solid-waste disposal costs would nearly double under the franchise as proposed, the City seems reluctant to offer the same opt-out privilege. City officials say they will attempt to address this by having the City absorb the entire difference for at least one year.

To preserve the franchise, though, the City proposes not to allow opt-outs for economic reasons, saying the franchise would collapse if too many people were allowed to opt out.

We support the goal of the franchise, to make Evanston cleaner and greener. In addition, if the cost savings are to be achieved, that could be an economic enticement for attracting and keeping businesses here.

On July 14, the City Council’s Administration and Public Works Committee agreed to hold the ordinance for further discussion rather than pushing it to City Council. We think that was a good idea. “Green” as the ordinance is, it is still green, in that it has potential to grow. We hope the Committee will clarify in ensuing discussions what the benefit to the community as a whole would be and whether the ordinance unfairly or unduly burdens certain small businesses or certain types of businesses.

If, as a City staff member said at the recent meeting, the franchise will fall apart if too many people opt out, then perhaps City staff should take another look at the economic premises and models of the proposed franchise and make sure it is reasonable and attractive enough that business owners will not wish to opt out.

It may be that with the three-year phase-in provisions and a competitively bid franchise, all businesses will garner savings before the phase-in period is over. In any case, though, the goals of efficient and streamlined solid-waste disposal for those not covered by City services are worth pursuing.

The U.S. Supreme Court delivered its ruling in the case of Heller v. District of Columbia on June 28. Justice Antonin Scalia authored the majority opinion.

In that decision the Court ruled that the handgun ban in the District of Columbia violated the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Since the ruling, the following gun-related incidents have been reported by the Evanston Police Department:

• 4 arrests for unlawful use of weapon

• 2 arrests for illegal possession of a weapon

• 1 arrest for suspicion of shooting

• 1 arrest for illegal possession of an air pistol

• 1 report of broken glass, subject suspected to be using a pellet or BB gun.