A district judge in Ramsey County, Minn., has ruled that St. Paul’s new waste collection system must go to ballot for voter approval. The decision was in reaction to a lawsuit from opponents of a new system that would suspend organized trash collection in the city as of June 30, Twin Cities reports.
St. Paul, which previously allowed residents to choose their own hauler, switched to a zone-based system in October. With the new system, particular haulers collect trash within designated zones. According to the report, “opponents obtained more than 6,000 voter signatures to get a repeal of a key city ordinance underpinning the new system on the November ballot. The city council, however, voted to reject the referendum effort last winter, citing state statutes allowing for municipal trash collection, as well as the city’s binding contract with a consortium of trash hauling companies.”
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St. Paul’s new system of organized trash collection must go to ballot for voter approval, a Ramsey County District Court judge has ordered.
The decision by Judge Leonardo Castro in reaction to a lawsuit presented by opponents of the new system suspends organized trash collection in the city as of June 30, more than four months before the Nov. 5 election, and throws into question how residential garbage removal will proceed until then.
St. Paul City Council President Amy Brendmoen said it was too soon to tell if the city will file a legal appeal of the order or hold a special election before November to settle the issue. Through industry consolidation, the city, which contracts trash collection through a consortium of haulers, has lost roughly half of the original 15 haulers it opened negotiations with in 2016.