Monday, September 17, 2007

County Trash Proposal Reviewed

The following was presented by Dr. Jerry Eichholz, Treasurer for the Paddock Forest Residents Association, Inc., who researched this issue on their behalf.

The information comes directly from the Trash Districts Development Report for the Citizens of St. Louis County prepared by The Solid Waste Management Task Force dated July 31, 2007. The complete 20 page document is available on the St. Louis County web site at

Beginning of material from report

The County Council unanimously passed an ordinance in December 2006 that, among other things, established two important policies related to this report. First, it established a new minimum standard for residential trash collection in the county. This standard provides that all licensed haulers must (as a condition of their license) provide a minimum collection frequency of once each week for each residence in the county. In addition, that weekly collection must include recycling as an element of the fees collected without added charges. Finally, the minimum service must include two bulky pick-ups each year, again as a part of the basic service without an added fee for services. The new standard was to have gone into effect in April 2007. (The effective date of the new standard has been delayed by further act of the County Council to January 2008).

The second important policy was the authority to establish operating trash service districts and contracts to serve unincorporated St. Louis County. This policy required the County Executive to set logical district boundaries along established transportation corridors and other geographic landmarks to set the stage for providing residential trash collection services. The boundaries for Trash Districts are to be established by January 2008. In addition, the ordinance authorized the County Executive to enter into contracts to provide trash services in the districts.

Impact on Price: The minimum standard currently included in the solid waste code may result in a higher cost to some residents. This is driven by two factors. First, many residents do not pay for the minimum collections as previously required by law. Increasing the quality of service to a minimum collection of once per week per residence will cause an increase in price to some residents. Second, imbedding the recycling costs within the minimum standards may increase costs for those who have not selected the recycling option from their current service provider.

Task Force Conclusion: After extended considerations, the task force has concluded the minimum standard for residential service should NOT be changed. The most controversial part of the standard is the imbedded provisions for recycling. Many residents have complained that this requires them to pay for the service even when they choose not to use the service. The task force has been convinced that forcing the recycling issue by pushing it forward in the service system is our best opportunity to meet the 50% reduction in the waste stream by 2010. In the final analysis, recycling is a necessary part of residential solid waste collection for the future. Imbedding recycling in the minimum standard for service is the most affordable way to get recycling in practice rather than in theory. Imbedding recycling in the minimum service for everyone creates an opportunity to use the buying power of all residents to assure that affordable recycling is available to all. Over the long run, we believe universal recycling will reduce the total solid waste disposal costs to everyone, both people who actively recycle and those who do not.

Draft Model Contract: A draft model contract for district trash services is being developed by the Purchasing Division in cooperation with the Department of Health and Public Works and with the direct support of the County Counselor’s Office. Many of the questions still open (and listed in this document) will have to be answered before a complete contract can be developed. The contract will be fully developed before the first district contract is advertised.

Performance Bond: The winning proposer should post a minimum performance bond, letter of credit, or other appropriate instrument in the amount of $500,000 with a bonding company or other appropriate financial institution approved by the County.
Insurance: Respondent must submit proof of worker’s compensation and liability insurance. Liability insurance must be in the amount of $5,000,000 per person and $10,000,000 per accident, with a $10,000,000 aggregate for personal injury or property damage.

Opt out Considerations: Subdivisions that want to opt out of the designated county trash district should apply for an exemption from the contract actions of the county. This application should demonstrate proof that more than two thirds of the subdivision property owners prefer to contract for services on their own without the support of the county government. This declaration, certification, and qualification must be completed prior to the county advertising for any specific district contract.

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