Thursday, June 12, 2008

Legislators Charge County Monopoly Trash District

Legislators who have been critical of St. Louis County’s monopoly trash district plans as violating state law have opened a new attack charging that the plan violates the County Charter as well.

Representative Jim Lembke on behalf of the legislators stated: "When the state Attorney General ruled the monopoly trash district plan of the County violated state law, the Dooley Administration replied that they were not bound by state law because they were a home rule charter county. Now we find that the County has blundered ahead with a monopoly trash district plan in direct violation of the County’s own Charter."

Councilman John Campisi in researching for a bill discovered a provision of the St. Louis County Charter that was ignored. That provision requires an approving vote of the citizens of the proposed district prior to any trash district plan being implemented:


"Section 2.180. Pursuant to and in conformity with the constitution of Missouri and without limiting the generality of the powers vested in the council by this charter, the council shall have, by ordinance, the power to:

(24) Provide for the creation of districts in the unincorporated areas of the county within which may be provided police protection, fire protection, public water supply, streets, sidewalks, street lighting, sewers, sewage disposal facilities, garbage and refuse collection and disposal, and such kindred facilities as the voters therein by a majority of those voting thereon may approve, the same to be paid for from funds raised by special assessment, general taxation or service charge, or any combination thereof within such districts; and, when authorized by law, provide for the consolidation of such functions with those now performed in existing districts."
St. Louis County Charter, Article II, Section (24)

The legislators –State Senator Mike Gibbons, Rep. Walt Bivins, and Rep. Jim Lembke- observed that it seems that the Dooley Administration is operating illegally in direction violation of both state law and the County Charter. The legislators called for an outright halt and reversal of prior actions regarding the monopoly district program – the monopoly districts and contracts for monopoly service are void.

Councilman John Campisi (6th District covering south county where most of the monopoly districts would be located) stated: "I have previously presented legislation to require a vote of the people on this program. The Administration blocked it as unnecessary. Their position is that the program was on valid legal footing. Now it turns out this dumb, costly monopoly program was unlawful as launched from day one."

Councilman Campisi further stated: "I would like to see County Executive Dooley and Gary Earls, his enforcer, come to South County to try to win voter approval." The legislators observed that their public hearing had revealed strong, massive public opposition to the Dooley monopoly trash districts. The legislators pointed out that despite restrictive guidelines over a short period, about 28,000 households had opted out of the program.

Rep. Bivins said: "A monopoly program like this is not wanted or needed by the people. It would squeeze out competition and stifle better prices and service. The program serves insider politicians, not the people. The monopolists might even give lower prices for a time until the competition was wiped. We see the effect of monopoly on oil prices and cable TV – we don’t need it in trash service."

Sen. Gibbons stated: "All we ask is for St. Louis County to follow the law and respect the concerns of the people."

The legislators state that the Monopoly program is rejected by the people and invalid under County and state law. It’s time to end this trainwreck of a program.


1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7:30 AM

    Oh my, how could that possibly happen. With all the brain trust at the county level, how could Ms Redington or Mr. Earls possibly overlook "County Charter" restrictions. Must be a mistake.
    But wait, aren't these the same folks that thumb their noses as State Statute?
    Maybe, it's just their way, or no way.