Wednesday, April 09, 2008

How We Arrived at $10 Million and Counting

We've been asked how we arrived at the $10 million estimate of the trash/recycling program. We picked the brain of several people in pulling this together. Here's a brief outline of the results.

  1. The first part is easy. The Journal Newspapers quoted the expenditure of $4.4 million for 190,000 recycle bins.
  2. Subtracting $4.4 million from $10 million leaves a balance $5.6 million.
  3. We calculated the number of man-hours this represents by dividing $5.6 million by 2,080 work hours in a year and came up with 140,000 hours of labor – per year.
  4. We used a salary of $40 per hour to determine how many workers it would take to work 140,000 hours in one year. We divided 140,000 by $40 and got 67+ workers. (Note: the “salary” includes pension, vacation, sick leave, social security, etc.)
  5. Are there 67 people throughout all of St. Louis County working full time on the trash/recycling problem? Probably not 67, but there are hundreds working part time on this problem – and many of them make a lot more than $40 per hour. There are 313 subdivisions that opted out of the trash program. Each of these subdivisions has at least 3 trustees each who have worked part time on this matter. That’s over 939 people involved on a part time basis.
  6. Expenses for travel, postage, envelopes and supplies, legal advice, meeting room rental, printing, lost wages, etc. and not included in the above. Pick a reasonable number and add it to the $10 million.
  7. There are dozens of people working full time on this with the various trash and recycling companies in the area. You can really bump up the costs taking them into consideration. What does a trash truck cost?


$4,400,000 Recycle bins

$5,600,000 Labor - Fringe Benefits, 67 employees working full time

$ 100,000 Expenses - Travel, postage, supplies, legal, etc.

$ 500,000 Expenses incurred by trash haulers for truck purchases, labor, fuel, etc.

$10,600,000 TOTAL . . . and counting


  1. $40.00 per hour? Where do I sign up? Pension Plan? Of course the County can and will do a better job of funding these than Ford or GM.

  2. Anonymous4:27 PM

    This expenditure amounts to almost $100 per household in unincorporated St. Louis County. And the cost esculation isn't over.
    And, you still have to pay for the service, whether you use or not.

    Thanks St. Louis County for wisely spending our money.