County trash-plan meetings set today

Campisi proposes placing trash-district issue on ballot

By BURKE WASSON

With St. Louis County’s finalized trash-district plans set to be explained through two simultaneous public meetings today — Nov. 8 — at Mehlville and Oakville senior high schools, one county councilman has suggested that those plans be decided through a vote of the people.

Sixth District County Councilman John Campisi, R-south county, last week requested County Counselor Pat Redington draft legislation calling for a referendum on the trash districts, which would be formed in unincorporated areas and have one trash hauler assigned to each district by the County Council.

As proposed by Campisi, residents in each of the eight trash districts would vote on whether to be assigned their own hauler.

Campisi has requested “legislation to revise Subchapter V and any other parts of the recently (December 2006) passed Waste Management Code to provide for a referendum that would allow the residents of each St. Louis County Trash District to vote on whether they want to opt out of the requirements to have St. Louis County select their trash hauler of if they want to be included in the Trash District and allow St. Louis County to select their trash hauler.”

While Campisi is not certain what will happen with his proposal, he and assistant Lou Chiodini are trying to exhaust all options to ease the trash-district provisions for south county residents, hundreds of whom have publicly opposed the proposal.

“I don’t know if what I’ve done is going to fly,” Campisi said. “But we’re going after everything I can possibly get my hands on …

“First of all, you know that nobody wants the districting. So that was something we could get our arms around. And by putting in a referendum that states no districting, we know that that’s got to be part of whatever it is that’s being written. So it was just something that we were able to go after, Lou and I. We thought maybe there.”

To explain the county’s intentions through trash districting, two simultaneous meetings are scheduled to take place from 7 to 9 p.m. today — Nov. 8 — at Mehlville Senior High School, 3200 Lemay Ferry Road, and Oakville Senior High School, 5557 Milburn Road. Both meetings will take place in each school’s cafeteria.

Two additional meetings in south county will take place at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14, at Affton High School, 8309 Macken-zie Road, and 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15, at Sperreng Middle School, 12111 Tesson Ferry Road.

County officials posted the finalized trash-district plans late Monday on the county’s Web site at www.co.st-louis.com.

Finalized plans will establish eight districts in unincorporated areas. Their implementation will begin no later than Sept. 1, 2008.

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.

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.

The finalized plans released Monday show that county haulers will have “three and a half months” into 2008 to conform to those new standards.

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

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

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.