South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

BREAKING NEWS (updated at 3:25 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 1)

County spokesman: trash-district plans could be revealed next week

Two days after postponing a press conference to unveil finalized plans for implementing trash districts in unincorporated areas of St. Louis County, county officials said Thursday that those plans should be released next week without a conference being scheduled.

County spokesman Mac Scott said he anticipates that the county will next week publish its finalized trash-district plans on the county’s Web site, which can be accessed at

County officials had already postponed a 10 a.m. Oct. 31 press conference to reveal trash-district plans as well as a conference that initially had been scheduled for 2 p.m on Oct. 26 at county government headquarters in Clayton.

County spokesman Dave Wrone said that the revised plans for trash districts were formed as a result of comments and criticism heard from residents during three public hearings on the issue in September. Public hearings to further explain the trash districts are expected to occur in November and December in each of the eight to 10 proposed trash districts, which Wrone said county officials hope to have implemented by “mid-August 2008.”

Starting Jan. 1, all waste haulers in the county will be held to a new minimum standard of service, which includes once-per-week pickup of trash and recyclables as well as twice-per-year pickup of bulk waste.

Additionally, officials now will hold all municipalities in the county responsible for including recycling in its trash contracts by April 15.

But what many south county residents have protested is a provision that would strip those residents of the right to choose their own waste hauler.

That responsibility would be passed to the County Council, which unanimously approved the trash-district proposal and minimum standards of service in December 2006.

One such councilman — County Councilman John Campisi, R-south county — reiterated last week that he will introduce legislation to overturn the formation of these trash districts.

Campisi is waiting to hone that legislation until county officials reveal their plans.

“We want everybody that still has been asking me and wanting to put it on the ballot,” Campisi said. “If I get support for it, fine. If I don’t, then obviously it dies. But we’re going to be doing something to hopefully relieve the pain everybody’s feeling. So we’re going to try to do something. We just don’t know what because I don’t know what’s being offered.”

While Campisi joined the rest of the County Council last year in voting in favor of the trash-district plan, he since has said he was misled by former 3rd District Councilman Skip Mange, R-Town and Country.

Campisi has alleged that Mange told him the proposal would have designated two days per week for trash pickup while still allowing all residents to choose their own trash haulers.

But after he learned earlier this year of the ordinance’s full language, Campisi now believes the plan runs counter to the will of south county residents.

During a Sept. 24 open forum at Affton High School, county representatives heard from roughly 60 speakers out of more than 500 residents overwhelmingly opposed to the trash-district system being implemented in unincorporated areas.

One area that Campisi is waiting to see finalized is a provision that would allow subdivisions in unincorporated areas to opt out of the trash districts and still be able to choose their own trash haulers.

County officials recently have stated that subdivisions would have the opportunity to petition the county from Nov. 1 to Feb. 2 to opt out of the trash districts if a majority of households wish to do so.

Subdivisions, however, still would be re-quired to bid for the county’s new minimum standards of service of once-per-week pickup of trash and recyclables and twice-per-year pickup of bulk waste.

For all residents included in the trash districts, monthly trash-collection rates would rise for some.

County Chief Operating Officer Garry Earls has estimated that the average monthly fee for residents being serviced through trash districts would be anywhere from $11 to $18.

He added that if residents wish to add on services like pickup of yard waste, which is not included in the new minimum standards, that monthly fee would be “closer to $18.”

Earls also has estimated that because the county would pay each hauler for trash service and then bill residents for it, the savings to residents would be roughly 20 percent because haulers would not have to issue billing statements.

Campisi said he expects to schedule a town-hall meeting in the coming weeks to further explain the county’s finalized trash-district plans.

“By that time, I’ll have all of the information needed to have one of those meetings,” Campisi said. “And so while I had said at the start that I wanted to have a town-hall meeting as soon as they (county officials) had announced, obviously it’s taking a lot longer for them to get their reports and everything together. So it’s taking me longer to actually set up a meeting.”

Rep. Jim Lembke, R-Lemay, also is organizing an effort to legally challenge the county’s trash-district plans.

He has cited Article 1, Section 13 of the Missouri Constitution in his belief that the county’s prevention of residents from entering into contracts is unconstitutional.

That section states: “No ex post facto law, nor law impairing the obligation of contracts, or retrospective in its operation, or making any irrevocable grant of special privileges or immunities, can be enacted.”

Like many residents, Campisi said he also is uncertain of what changes could show up in the county’s final plan.

Because of that, he is asking that south county residents also be patient before hearing the county’s revised trash-district plans this week.

“I don’t know the specifics,” Campisi said. “I don’t know how much the haulers are going to have to pay to get their license. I don’t know how big the districts are going to be …

“That’s all information that everyone’s waiting for because this thing’s going to start after the first of the year some time. That’s what they’ve said … Until you have the meeting . . . you just don’t know,” he added.

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