Friday, May 02, 2008

Heated Exchanges Prevail at County Trash Meeting

"State Legislatures -vs- St. Louis County" may have been a more appropriate title for the meeting held on May 1 to discuss the county's position regarding the opinion rendered by the State's Attorney General's office.

About 275 St. Louis County residents from both north and south came to Bayless Junior High School to see area lawmakers and county officials debate the legality of the controversial trash collection districts. Dozens of speakers condemned the idea in non uncertain terms. Some exchanges were heated and tenuous.

State Senate President Pro Tem Michael Gibbons, R-Kirkwood, and State Rep. Jim Lemke, R-South St. Louis County, insisted that the county is required by state law to give two years notice before starting the program. They cited a recent opinion from the office of the attorney general supporting their view. County Counselor Patricia Reddington insisted that St. Louis County is not subject to the law because it has a home rule charter. Also representing the county was Chief Operating Officer, Garry Earls.

Speaker's primary complaints are they are losing their freedom of choice to select a hauler, that small haulers might go out of business and that remaining haulers would raise their prices three years from now when the first round of contracts expire.

A few speakers favored the program, saying that it would reduce wear and tear on streets and save fuel costs. This statement is basically not a true state but St. Louis County officials continue to say traffic will reduce. Some subdivisions will incur an increase in traffic due to recycling, while others will experience a decrease. Still others will remain unchanged, but a blanket statement of "reducing truck traffic" is just not true.

Indications are this issue may be heading to the courts.

A slide presentation providing an overview of the problems was cut short due to a 2-minute limit for each speaker. The key topics in the presentation included the following:

~ Trash Districts
~ Opt-out Options
~ Residents Not In Subdivisions
~ Decreased Traffic Questionable
~ Believable Communications from County
~ Recycle Bins Returned
~ Paying for Services Not Used
~ Cost - $10 Million and Counting
~ County Report Card

This program will be shown in its entirety at the Subdivision Trustee Network Group meeting set for May 22 at the Weber Road Library (the original location for the trash meeting). This meeting is open to the public and will start at 7:00 p.m. and adjourn no later than 8:45 p.m. Attorneys, Les Stuckmeyer and Jerry Wamser, will be on hand to discuss Protective Covenants for Subdivisions. Here's your chance to "ask the attorney" questions about your own subdivisions restrictions and covenants.

NOTE: The slide program is available on-line as a video from Click here to view:


  1. M. Roberts11:44 AM

    The county is all wet on this trash situation and it needs to be resolved NOW. I viewed the video presentation of the slide program and it's right on target.

  2. Anonymous11:57 AM

    Here's the typical attitude of county management - from Mr. Dooley. - "If it works, it works. If it doesn't work, we won't do it."

    Only after millions of dollars have been spent.