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

Parties playing waiting game in lawsuit seeking vote on county’s trash districts

Parties in the “right-to-vote” lawsuit against St. Louis County are playing the waiting game.

South county resident Brett Buchanan, north county resident Greg Porter and hauler American Eagle Waste Industries say the county shouldn’t have established trash districts in unincorporated areas last year without first putting the issue to a public vote, citing a section of the County Charter.

County officials maintain the districts were appropriately put in place.

The parties were scheduled to attend a case management conference last month with St. Louis County Circuit Court Judge Larry Kendrick. However, the plaintiffs’ lawyer says Kendrick didn’t show up June 19.

“Nothing happened,” Lester Stuckmeyer said. “The judge’s bailiff came out, told us (the case) was on the judge’s desk and he’ll get to it … when he gets to it.”

The no-go meeting followed an April 9 conference that also produced no ruling.

The lawsuit, filed last August, has been on hold since the county motioned in October to have it dismissed, Stuckmeyer said, adding his clients are “disappointed” with the court’s delay. No further hearings were scheduled as of Monday.

The county awarded contracts to three waste haulers — Allied Waste, IESI and Veolia Environmental Services — when it established eight trash districts in 2008.

Subdivisions can opt out of the waste management program and choose their own hauler — more than 300 have done so — but other residents are required to use the county-authorized service or face fines and/or legal action.

At least two south county residents have received court summons from the county because they haven’t paid for trash service.

Allan Fexer and Charles Meine were given an ultimatum April 1: Reinstate trash service with Allied Waste or pay a $100 fine. They did neither, and on June 26 received summons to appear in court.

Their hearing was scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday at the county’s south division government center in Keller Plaza. Members of Citizens Opposed to Monopoly Trash Districts planned to conduct a rally in support of the residents before their hearing.

A second lawsuit against the county also is pending in federal court in St. Louis. American Eagle Waste, Meridian Waste Services and Waste Management of Missouri filed suit against the county in May 2008. They allege it violated a state statute by failing to give two years’ notice to waste haulers before it established trash districts and awarded exclusive contracts to the current county haulers.

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