BREAKING NEWS (as of 7:52 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 8)

St. Louis County introduces legislation to stop unincorporated residents from choosing trash hauler

By BURKE WASSON

One week after St. Louis County Counselor Patricia Redington admitted in court that the county’s recently established trash districts in unincorporated areas are unenforceable, county officials have taken steps to put teeth in the trash program.

In an Oct. 7 letter to the County Council, County Executive Charlie Dooley has requested the council’s approval of emergency legislation “to prohibit non-contracted trash haulers from providing services to residents within designated trash districts.”

This emergency legislation, which would require a supermajority approval from five of the council’s seven members, would not apply to unincorporated subdivisions that have opted out of the county’s trash program.

Second District County Council Chairwoman Kathleen Burkett, D-Overland, introduced that legislation Oct. 7 to the County Council.

County spokesman Mac Scott told the Call last week that while the county currently can’t prosecute unincorporated residents who refuse to pay bills to their assigned hauler, “that may change” as county officials are considering presenting a new ordinance to the County Council.

Effective last week, the county has established eight trash districts in unincorporated areas with one trash hauler per district. County officials have said this was done in response to unincorporated residents complaining that their neighborhoods were being serviced by multiple trash companies.

County officials contend that having one hauler per district will result in a more uniform brand of service and lower prices.

The county also has established new minimum standards for trash service. These standards are weekly pickup of trash and recyclables and twice-per-year pickup of bulk waste.

But some waste haulers and residents, mostly in south county, have criticized the move because county officials also have stated that districts likely would force some small haulers out of business due to a lack of competition.

In response to Dooley’s request for legislation, 6th District County Councilman John Campisi, R-south county, said he is disappointed with county officials’ decision to correct Redington’s “mess” and put some smaller waste-hauling companies not awarded districts out of business.

“This could be laying off a thousand people easy by putting this legislation forward,” Campisi said. “And, in this economic time, (Dooley) needs to remember that we need to be bringing in jobs rather than getting rid of them.

” . . .I think he knows that (Redington) has screwed up royally when it comes to designing the legislation that went forward the first time. And he knows she’s in a trick bag and this is a way to get her out of the trick bag. He is cleaning up the mess that Pat Redington has made throughout St. Louis County.”

While the legislation is yet to be decided, Campisi has invited all waste haulers not awarded a trash district in St. Louis County to attend a 7 p.m. rally on Oct. 21 at Bayless Senior High School, 4532 Weber Road, to restore service to homes in those areas.