Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Time Running Out to Opt-out of County Trash Program

Time is quickly running out for subdivisions to “opt-out” of St. Louis County’s Trash District Program. The deadline to opt-out is Saturday, February 1, 2008.

Share this message with your trustee directors if your subdivision is interested in opting out of the county program since this process must be initiated and supported by a majority of your trustee directors.

St. Louis County does not have any regulations regarding the process that a subdivision must use to opt-out of their program so it can be done by obtaining signatures, a response or non-response to a letter, or they will even accept the word of your trustee directors, which one county official calls “the honor system.”

There is still time to opt-opt if your trustee directors can get a letter in the mail within the next few days and set a deadline for response/non-response before the end of January, allowing time to submit your documentation to the county via mail or in person. It’s recommend that trustee directors send their documentation via certified mail with return receipt requested so that you will have a record for your subdivision files.

The required information consists of the following:

(1) an Opt-Out Certification Form signed by a majority of your trustee directors attesting that they are acting on behalf of the subdivision homeowners,

(2) a list of all of the residential addresses in your subdivision,

(3) a copy of your subdivision indenture or other legal document which proves that your subdivision has an active form of governance, (Note: this is optional and not required) and

(4) a list of your current trustee directors (include name, address and contact information).

There are two final important points: (1) it’s still questionable if your subdivision will need to contract with a specific hauler in order to opt-out at this time and (2) if your subdivision opts-out now but decides to opt-out later for any reason, your subdivision has the option to opt back in to the county program once. However, once a subdivision opts back in to the county program they cannot ever opt-out again.

Confusing, isn’t it? And, if your subdivision does not opt-out before the February 1 deadline, you do not have the option to opt-out and are stuck forever with the St. Louis County program.

We hope the above has clarified rather than confused you more about this highly controversial and confusing program that your St. Louis County Council, County Executive and his department colleagues have concocted, as they state that the purpose of this program is to reduce the number of trash trucks on your subdivision streets and to spur recycling. As many residents are aware, there is much more to this story than meets the eye, and it should be interesting to see how this plays out in the months to come as there is still a lot of opposition to this program. There are two groups have been formed in recent months to fight this unpopular legislation.

Please feel free to forward this message on to anyone who may be interested in receiving this information as well as sharing it with anyone who does not have access to e-mail or the internet.

Submitted by: Greg Porter, Chairman
North St. Louis County Problem Solving Committee


  1. Hi,
    I'm really glad to find your blog and comments. I have a question related to this and our subdivision for you. I live on a 1-street, 50 home "subdivision" which was built in the 1930s. Through the years, our indentures expired, and no one ever renewed them or updated them - I know because when we moved here 10 years ago I researched this. Anyway, our new "trustees" had a meeting last week and published their minutes saying that they had decided to NOT opt out of the trash hauling districts. I sent an e-mail to the president asking why this wasn't voted on, or why there wasn't an agenda posted before the meeting to let people know this was going to be discussed. She replied by saying that she recommended that we not opt out to the people at the meeting - I can never go to these, I routinely work 12-14 hour days, 7 days a week - and they thought there wouldn't be any opposition, so they agreed to opt in. She also said that if I wanted to go door to door to get signatures, I could and also find out what trash company people used for her. Frustrating. So, my question to you is this - do you think I should just eat this one and butt out, or should I worry about it at all because we don't have subdivision indentures, or what would be your advice? Honestly, I wish you were our "trustee". The whole trash hauling thing has me ticked, along with the no-vote decree from the trustees, but I don't know if it's worth the precious little free time I have to persue it or not. Thanks so much for your blog!

  2. Hi, cmahne. Hope you get this response here as I don't have your e-mail.

    I agree with you that your trustees should have put out some type of notice before taking action. Actually, the rules outlined by the county allow the trustees to make that decision in behalf of the residents, but this is a gray area.

    It's difficult to understand how trustees and a subdivision can "buy" into a program that no one knows what it will cost and who will provide the service. By opting out, a subdivision can better evaluate the situation and then make a sound business decision.

    The problem you have now is time has almost run out as the deadline to opt-out is February 1. You would have to do a lot of hustling to get 26 signatures of residents to opt-in . . . and then you'll have to do battle with the trustees who have already voted.

    I would suggest your trying to call a special meeting of the subdivision to discuss the situation and for them to vote. Again, you'll irritate the trustees but at least you're sending them a message.

    Since you have a busy schedule, these suggestion may not work unless you can garner some fast support from some other residents. Another option is to get support from residents and you all meet with the trustees to get them to change their mind.

    Another gray area is your subdivision indentures. I would suggest that your trustees get these re-established or to develop a new set from scratch. It appears they have little to no authority without them.

    That being the case, the county will probably look at your subdivision as not having a governing body, restrictions, indentures, etc.

    Hope this all helps. I guess you're "stuck" for now, but keep informed and spread the word with neighbors.

  3. Bill,
    Thanks so much for your thoughts. It really does give me some insight, and if nothing else, a path to start pursuing - along with a little hard evidence to use to support my position. I don't know how things will turn out, but at least I'll know I've made some attempt to push in the "right" direction. Thanks for your response and your blog - I've bookmarked it!