Beginning this April, residences who receive city garbage collection services will begin paying a garbage service fee of $9.50 per month per dwelling unit. The fee will pay for a portion of the costs associated with weekly garbage collection provided to residences. To allow for one bill and one payment for City-provided services, the garbage fee will appear on a new, unified utility bill that will include both the garbage fee and your water bill. This unified City-provided utility bill will continue to follow your current water billing cycle. So, if you have a meter, you will get a bill every two months. If you still are not metered, you will get a bill every six months. The new, unified utility bill will start in April, and it will include retroactive charges for the garbage service provided since January, along with current charges for water, sewer, and garbage services. Please note that the City is waiving all late payment penalties for the garbage fee portion of the unified utility bill in 2016. Additionally, there are multiple payment plan options available for residents to pay their unified utility bills. You may apply for a payment plan at any Department of Finance Payment Center or by calling Utility Billing Customer Service at (312) 744-4426. There is also a senior discount for the garbage fee that is different than the senior sewer exemption. Seniors who receive the Cook County Assessor’s Senior Freeze Exemption as part of their property tax bill are eligible for a 50-percent discount. Lastly, to help ensure residents receive an accurate garbage bill, a simple self-certification process will be available starting in April. Residents may check the number of dwelling units for their property and update that information if required.