Petition against St. Paul’s organized trash collection survives signature hurdle, but will it be enough?

Opponents have submitted enough petition signatures to force the St. Paul City Council to consider repealing one of the ordinances behind the city’s new contract for residential organized trash collection. Some in City Hall predicted the impact will be minimal, though a second petition is still circulating.

Citywide trash collection through a consortium of private haulers began Oct. 1, over the objection of many homeowners who have called the pricing negotiated by the city too high and have taken issue with no longer being allowed to share trash carts among neighbors. Under the contract, the city has issued a new cart to every residence in homes of one to four units.

In late September, opponents dubbing themselves St. Paul Trash submitted 5,800 signatures to the Ramsey County Elections office with the intent of repealing city council Ordinance 18-40, which sets licensing requirements for trash haulers. This week, Ramsey County elections manager Joe Mansky confirmed that a majority of the signatures were valid and from registered voters.

“The petition that was filed a few weeks ago was certified by Joe Mansky, and the city council will repeal the ordinance that petition addresses,” said city council president Amy Brendmoen, who said council action will likely be taken next Wednesday following formal input from the city attorney’s office. “We will accept the petition and repeal the ordinance. This won’t actually change the system that is currently in place.”

Another group of contract opponents dubbing themselves St. Paul Cartless is still collecting signatures toward a second petition. That petition, which may be submitted to the county on Oct. 25, aims to repeal Ordinance 18-39, which is more wide-ranging and touches on a number of different facets of the contract, including base-level services, billing and homeowner obligations.

“The other petition that is circulating is more focused on the contract fees and hauling,” Brendmoen noted.

St. Paul Public Works has asked residents to clear their old trash bins of garbage and leave them out for removal on their normal trash day, though the process may take up to three more weeks. For instance, if your new trash day is Monday, your old cart will be removed Oct. 15, 22 or 29, if it wasn’t already collected this week. Trash haulers plan to reuse or recycle the carts if they’re able.


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