Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Public Hearing Set for May 1 On County Waste Ordinance

A public hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. May 1 at the St. Louis County Library's Weber Road branch, 4444 Weber Road, in Affton. The hearing, sponsored by state Rep. Jim Lembke, R-85th, will include St. Louis County Councilman John Campisi, R-6th Dist., and South County state legislators Pat Yaeger, D-96th, Walt Bivins, R-97th, Sue Schoemehl, D-100th, and state Senate President Pro Tem Michael Gibbons, R-15th.

State reps Jim Lembke, R-85th, Walt Bivins, R-97th, and Jim Avery, R-95th, along with Missouri State Senate President Pro-Tem Michael Gibbons, R-15th, asked Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon's office in February to decide whether St. Louis County's plan to establish eight trash districts and contract with waste haulers to service them violates a state statute prohibiting the county from entering into solid waste collection services.

They say the statute requires giving two-year notice to trash haulers before engaging in the districting plan and the county hasn't done that. The legislators' request also maintains the county's solid waste code appears to establish monopoly franchises for trash haulers in each of the eight trash districts within the county.

Paul C. Wilson, Nixon's deputy chief of staff for litigation, states that based upon the facts submitted and gathered by the office, "it appears that the General Assembly's 2007 amendment to the two-year notice provision which extended that requirement to all political subdivisions does apply to St. Louis County."

Wilson's opinion also stated that the ordinance approved by the St. Louis County Council to establish trash districts indeed shows the county decided to enter into solid waste collection services and the two-year notice requirement applies. Lembke said Wilson's response means "the statute does apply to St. Louis County and all political subdivisions, and does not say all political subdivisions with the exception of home rule charter counties.

The public hearings will include all of the county's areas covered by the trash district plan in north, south and west St. Louis County. Lembke described the hearings as a way for residents to ask county lawmakers to explain why they're moving forward with the district plan despite its apparent disagreement with state statutes.

"If it’s the county's intention to be headstrong and move forward and take on a state statute that clearly applies to them," Lembke said, "They're heading for a train wreck between the county government and the state government."

In the meantime, a pilot trash district is scheduled to begin in July in the third trash district, which lies within the Second St. Louis County Council district of council chairman Kathleen Burkett. While the term “pilot” has been widely used, Burkett says there is no “pilot” but that the contract has been signed and it’s final – regardless of the performance levels.

Veolia Environmental Services won the bid to service the pilot area at a bid of $11.60 per household per month for a once-per-week trash hauling and a once-per week recycling pick-up.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:04 PM

    Had St. Louis County listened a little closer to some very knowledgable people, they may have saved themselves lots of grief, and saved the taxpayers lots of money.
    How self absorbed can the powers in St. Louis County be.