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Operational Analysis and Rate Study


In its 2017 Comprehensive Plan, Imagine Dubuque 2037, the City of Dubuque set a policy goal of expanding programs to reduce, reuse, and recycle to move the City further toward zero waste. The City contracted with Foth to help them make the Imagine Dubuque 2037 goals a reality.


Foth’s work includes the following tasks:

  • Complete a review of the City’s Resource Management Operations.
  • Co-create with the City a community engagement process and strategies to seek input on defining what it would take to make Dubuque a Zero Waste community.
  • Review the financial elements of the City’s collection process to ensure long- term financial viability of the solid waste fund.

Foth and City staff developed a community engagement process to seek input from residents to analyze current initiatives and how the community would like to move forward toward achieving the waste minimization strategies, specifically related to zero waste. The engagement plan started with preliminary meetings between Foth and the City to determine the specific input the City was seeking. Foth led the development of a survey and a communications plan focused on various outlets, including in-person and digital efforts.

An example of the events included the City and Foth attending a Farmers’ Market to kick off the community engagement plan. Residents talked with City employees, viewed the available cart options, asked questions and received answers, provided input on surveys that were printed out, or took the survey digitally on-site. A recycling truck was on-site for education for the kids.

The plan also consisted of a comprehensive social media outreach campaign that provided posts and a schedule for internal digital efforts, including the City’s Facebook page, Facebook events, Twitter, the NextDoor app and shareable content provided to the community stakeholders identified in the preliminary meetings. The City’s current solid waste rate structure included more than 20 different service options. Foth completed a review of existing service options usage and financial analysis of the existing system, resulting in recommendations that reduced the number of service levels to four.


Foth’s assistance helped the City maintain long-term stability and financial viability of its solid waste system as the City continues on its path toward zero waste.

  • Nearly 800 residents participated in the residential survey.
  • Established a Path toward Zero Waste action plan with annual goals and targets.
  • Evaluated billing rates to establish a new rate structure that gives customers a greater financial incentive to recycle more and produce less waste.
  • Evaluated waste collection processes and established a path toward automated collection.


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