Refunds in the mail for trash pickup in city of Green Park

By BURKE WASSON

Now that Green Park aldermen have decided to fund once-per-week residential trash pickup, residents who paid for services after Feb. 1 soon should receive refunds.

American Eagle Waste Industries owners said they planned to mail refunds to Green Park residents who already had paid for trash service by this week.

“Originally, when the contract was brought up, the residents were going to pay for the waste hauling,” said co-owner Brian Barcom. “And then we billed some of them, and the board said that they were going to wind up paying for it. Now we’re going to give everybody their refund back.”

Co-owner Michael Barcom said if residents who have paid for their trash service have questions about their refund or service, they should call the waste hauler at (314) 631-8381.

Mayor Steve Armstrong said it is important to remember that some refunds still are being sent through mail and that the city has no way of controlling their delivery date.

“You guys always write what you want to write,” Armstrong said. “But they’re in the mail.”

After rejecting previous proposals to pay for once-a-week residential trash pickup, aldermen approved a resolution in February to make that service free.

That resolution, introduced by Ward 1 Alderman Bob Reinagel, was approved by a 5-1 vote. Board President Fred Baras of Ward 3 was opposed. Baras said he voted against the resolution because he is concerned about costs for other future projects in the city.

The resolution made once-per-week trash service free for all residents retroactive to Feb. 1. Green Park’s three-year contract with waste hauler American Eagle began that day. Under the newly passed resolution, Green Park residents now will receive two free trash services from the city — once-per-week pickup and recycling.

City officials previously had decided to pay for residents’ recycling, and that move dropped residents’ once-per-week trash pickup fee from $14 per month to $10 per month. But with the resolution passed in February, that $10 charge was eliminated.

Any trash service other than once-per-week pickup and recycling will be paid by residents. This includes a $2 monthly charge for twice-per-week pickup and a $9 monthly fee for yard-waste pickup.

Both recycling and once-per-week trash pickup were negotiated with American Eagle to be collected on Mondays. Residents who wish to participate in the free single-stream recycling service will be given up to two containers for free. Containers for either trash or recycling must not exceed 50 pounds.

Residents who wish to pay an additional $2 per month for twice-a-week pickup will have their trash collected on Mondays and Thursdays. Yard-waste service, which is offered to residents for $9 per month, will be picked up on Wednesdays. That service is available on a month-to-month basis and has a 10-item limit with no one item weighing more than 50 pounds.

The resolution also permits aldermen to annually revisit paying for once-per-week trash pickup as part of its budget review. It does not, however, change the length of the city’s three-year contract with American Eagle.

Ward 1 Alderman Judy Betlach was the only alderman opposed to that three-year contract and previously had made unsuccessful motions to have the city pay for residential trash service.

But Reinagel, who once opposed free once-per-week trash pickup, said that after more closely studying the issue alongside the city’s budget, he believes once-per-week trash service and recycling can be paid for by the city.

During the Board of Aldermen’s Feb. 20 meeting, Reinagel said that perhaps the city does not need its current reserve level of roughly $3 million and that perhaps some of that money can be spent on funding trash service.

With the city’s previous agreement to pay for up to $48,000 annually to provide free recycling to its residents and the Feb. 20 resolution to pay for once-per-week trash pickup, the total cost for both services to the city will be more than $165,000 each year.

Green Park has 985 residences, and the $10-per-month charge for once-per-week trash pickup would bring the city’s annual cost for that service to $118,200.

Armstrong has said Green Park’s plan to move to a single trash hauler within city limits was modeled after St. Louis County plans to approve single trash haulers in trash districts to be formed in unincorporated areas of the county. Those county plans were met with raucous opposition by more than 400 people at a March 22 county-sponsored town-hall meeting at Oak-ville Senior High School. The majority of those in attendance told county officials that they are opposed to losing their right to choose their own trash hauler.

Sixth District Councilman John Campisi, R-south county, planned to introduce legislation Tuesday — after the Call went to press — that would allow residents in unincorporated areas to still choose their own hauler. As a way to reduce the flow of trash trucks in neighborhoods, Campisi said his proposed legislation would limit waste haulers to two designated days per week to collect trash in each district.