Wednesday, May 14, 2008

St. Charles Council Considering Plan for Trash Hauling

The county's unincorporated areas would be split into trash collection districts each served by only one waste hauler under a proposal discussed Monday by the St. Charles County Council.

Council Chairman Dan Foust made the proposal after getting complaints from constituents about "the nuisance" of trucks from competing companies plying the same streets, especially in the St. Charles Hills neighborhood.

Under the current free-market system, Foust said, "You could have five trucks in the same day picking up trash" from different homes in the same subdivision. "There's no consistency for trash pickup times," said Foust, R-6th District. Foust added that street pavement deteriorates more quickly when multiple trucks make regular runs. Under his proposal, various companies would submit bids to the county to be selected as the single hauler in a district. He said he'd be willing to exempt outlying semi-rural areas.

Eleven companies have permits to operate anywhere in the county's unincorporated areas. A hauling district plan begun recently by St. Louis County for its unincorporated territory has caused a political ruckus. Some residents are upset that they no longer can choose between rival firms and have raised other issues.

Foust, who has yet to outline details of his plan, got support from Councilwoman Cheryl Hibbeler, D-1st District. However, Councilman Joe Brazil, R-2nd District, said he'd prefer simply requiring waste haulers to offer collection of recyclables. "You're eliminating competition," Brazil said of the district idea. "I don't think government needs to get involved in trying to regulate that."

Council members asked County Executive Steve Ehlmann's administration to prepare alternative legislation setting up hauling districts or just requiring firms to offer recycling collection. Ehlmann has yet to take a position on either.

In 2002, the council and the previous executive, Joe Ortwerth, decided to require haulers in the most populous unincorporated areas to offer curbside collection of recyclable items. But the county backed off after haulers announced higher-than-expected customer fees for recyclable pickups.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:59 AM

    I hope that St. Charles County isn't as stupid as St. Louis County.
    If Dan Foust & any others that go along with this want to keep their county job come the next election, they need to put a halt to this thinking real quick!