Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Florissant Proposed Trash Contract Meets Mixed Reception

The rates proposed by a single waste hauler to provide trash collection in Florissant drew both support and skepticism from seniors who packed a public meeting recently. Meridian Waste Services was the low bidder among five licensed waste haulers who submitted bids to the city for a three-year contract.

Mayor, Robert Lowery, had insisted that the bids include a 50 percent discount for seniors 60 and older.

A number of residents at the meeting, however, questioned whether the new rates would be cheaper than the city's garbage tag program for seniors.Seniors have the option of purchasing tags to place on individual garbage bags, rather than paying a monthly rate. Seniors who choose the tag option pay $20 and receive 20 to 30 tags, depending on the hauler they use.

Proposed trash rates in Florissant:- The cost would be $11.85 a month ($5.92 for seniors) during the first year of the contract, with an increase to $12.26 the second year and $12.69 the third.- Weekly yard waste pickup would be $8.15 per month ($4.70 for seniors). Additional bulk waste, household waste and yard waste pickup would be $15 per pickup ($7.50 for seniors). Major appliance pickup would be $20 per item ($10 for seniors). Christmas tree pickup would be $5 per tree ($2.50 for seniors). Rental of a 64- or 96-gallon container would be $3 per month ($1.50 for seniors).


  1. Anonymous8:46 PM

    Post Dispatch Editorial 10/28/08

    Trash wars: the sequel
    Tuesday, Oct. 28 2008
    One person's garbage is another's bread and butter. In a nutshell, that is
    what's behind the long-running "trash wars" of St. Louis County. Now the
    Missouri Supreme Court may enter the fray.

    A year ago, St. Louis County government began awarding exclusive contracts to
    collect trash in unincorporated parts of its jurisdiction. After many delays,
    the new contracts went into effect this month. A dozen other firms were, if
    you'll pardon the expression, dumped.

    And they want their customers back. Thanks to a couple of apparent goofs by
    county officials, they may get their wish.

    Had County Executive Charlie A. Dooley and the County Council showed more
    patience, they might have pulled off this transition without a hitch. Instead,
    the county faces a big mess in the garbage business and millions of dollars in
    potential damages. Meanwhile, no one is sure who can haul what trash from where.

    Some background: Until 2007, a free market existed for trash-hauling in
    unincorporated St. Louis County, areas that lay outside the boundaries of
    municipalities. As many as 20 haulers competed for customers among the 104,000
    households. Customers could hire their own trash collector or band together
    with neighbors to negotiate a deal.

    Depending on your point of view, this either was a fine example of capitalism
    at work or a wasteful, expensive, smelly mess.

    The mess theorists pointed out the inefficiency of having noisy trucks from
    several haulers serving the same streets. Free-marketers claimed the system
    supplied an incentive for good service, since a citizen could fire a hauler who

    Even though many residents, particularly in unincorporated South County, turned
    out to feel passionately about their favorite trash companies, Mr. Dooley and
    the County Council divided the county into eight districts and declared that a
    single hauler would have exclusive rights in each one.

    But the spurned companies were not without clout. They convinced the Missouri
    Legislature to enact a law requiring two-years' notice before a county
    government could switch to exclusive contracts. They argued that haulers have a
    big investment and lots of employees at stake, and that they need time to
    adjust before government snatches away business.

    In May, Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon's office opined that counties had
    to comply with that law. And although the Legislature's action clearly was
    aimed at St. Louis County, Mr. Dooley maintained that St. Louis County's home
    rule charter made it exempt. The county went ahead with its plan and awarded
    contracts to low bidders. The program started this month.

    The losing haulers sued, and this month a state Court of Appeals ruled that the
    county had to respect the new law's two-year waiting period. Meanwhile, the
    county forgot to establish penalties for haulers who sign up customers in the
    exclusive territories in violation of exclusive contracts.

    The result has been confusion. Losing haulers are trying to entice their
    previous customers back into the fold, while haulers who thought they had
    exclusive contracts are discovering that they don't.

    Meanwhile, a second lawsuit lurks, this one claiming that setting up garbage
    districts requires a popular vote. Now, the entire mess is headed for the
    Missouri Supreme Court.

    This could get awfully expensive for the county. One losing hauler, Waste
    Management Inc., says it expects to lose $65 million in business over two years
    as a result of the changes. "We had to park trucks and lay off over 60
    employees," says a spokeswoman. "It could be damages that we'll ask for."

    To top off the confusion, subdivisions representing a quarter of the eligible
    households opted out of the county plan, which means there still will be plenty
    of garbage trucks rumbling around.

    In theory, the county's garbage takeover might be a good idea. The winning
    bidders are charging $11 to $13 a month, which is several dollars cheaper than
    most of the former haulers, and the new service includes weekly recycling and
    trash pickups and two bulk pickups a year.

    But Mr. Dooley and the council never effectively made their case, and now
    they've run into a legal minefield. They should pick their way out carefully
    and try again.

  2. Anonymous6:29 AM

    I wonder if Florissant issued 2 years notification. If not will American Eagle and Waste Management sue Florissant too. I think it is apparent that Meridian will not be apart of this lawsuit.

  3. Anonymous8:06 AM

    Florissant is trying to do it the right way by listening to their residents. That's something St. Louis County did not do.

  4. Anonymous5:07 PM

    This is not about listening to citizens. This is about obeying the law. Florissant, and it's selected hauler Meridian, violated Missouri state law. It just goes to show that when it is convenient to Meridian, they sue, but when they win a contract, the law is unimportant. I hope Bryan Barcom (evil twin A) sues Florissant and Chuck Barcom (evil twin B) loses money he invested in buying extra trucks and personnel.

  5. Mike Roberts8:08 PM

    WHAT? You got to be kidding. If Saint Louis county would have listened to its citizens, we would not be in this mess. And look at who's breaking the law. Opinions from the atty general's office to the court says the county screwed up. The Supreme Court will probably be telling you the same so get ready to eat your words.

    Don't worry about the Barcom brothers suing. The ones to worry about suing are Veolia, IESI and Allied.

  6. Anonymous6:31 AM


    You are dead on. I think the County messed up. However, Florissant is subject to the same opinions set by the attorney general. I just find it ironic that no one mentions Meridian bypassing the 2 year notification law to get the contract with Florissant. The lawsuit by the 3 haulers has nothing to do with repealing the trash districts. It has everything to do with companies suing for 2 years of lost revenue. The only lawsuit with merit is the one by residents asking for a vote of the people.