Saturday, April 03, 2010

Lawsuit Says Mandatory Charge for Recycling Violates Hancock Amendment

In December 2006, the St. Louis County Council passed an ordinance that divided the 100,000 homes in the unincorporated parts of the county into eight different trash districts. Through competitive bidding, the county hired one trash hauler for each district. Previously, subdivisions or individuals selected their own haulers for removing their trash.

The goal of the ordinance was to provide uniform trash pickup dates and allow for residents to be able to recycle. Weekly recycling and bulk pick-up is included in the price residents pay for trash.

A group of St. Louis County residents currently paying for the trash service have filed the most recent suit against the county back in June 2009 alleging that the mandatory charge for recycling, violates the state's Hancock Amendment. The amendment requires voter approval before government agencies can levy any tax, license or fee. The suit does not challenge the trash districting itself just the provision concerning recycling.

"We believe the [recycling charge] is a tax." said attorney David Butsch,of Butsch Simeri Fields. "St. Louis County always had an ordinance that required [households in incorporated parts of the county] to contract with a waste hauler to remove their trash. This is the first time that anyone under the ordinance had to pay for recycling. "

The suit filed by James Grace, is asking for class certification for residents participating in the program.


  1. Anonymous8:20 AM

    Just curious. Where does the Tax Payer, ever hope to gain by all of this.

    I will be the first to agree, St. Louis County should have kept their nose out of this service. Trash service was being delivered and those who wanted Recycle or Yard Waste, were getting it. It was competitive, and if you didn't like your carrier, you could change.

    But, St. Louis County, had this primal urge to be everyone big brother and hijack the service and bid it out. The cost to business was big, because they had to drop their pricing to compete for a piece of the pie. The resident overall saved a few dollars.

    But the County wasted millions on recycle bins, and only about 30% of them are being used. Huge waste of taxpayer wasted funds.

    But, all of these lawsuits will cost taxpayers money as well. If the county looses, and it could, who flips the bill, the taxpayer. The free market system won't really come back the way it was, and again the confussion goes on and on.

    What a mess, but what do you expect from St. Louis County.

    Can't run a simple Trash & Recycle program, can't run a transportation system, can't run an effective police department, can't run a budget in the black, can't run a decent parks system, can't, can't can't. Maybe the county should fully incorporate and merge with existing successful municipalities. Less government in St. Louis would be a good thing.

    Time to give us Tax Payers a break.

  2. Anonymous8:24 AM

    Too much of a good thing.

    The St. Louis regional area suffers from too much.

    Too much government:

    St. Louis (state of missouri control), St. Louis County, and 92 municipalities.

    Too many School Districts.

    Too many Fire Districts.

    Too many Ambulance Districts.

    Too many special taxing Districts.

    Too many Chiefs and not enough Indians.

    Consolidation, is the only answer that is viable.

  3. Anonymous10:59 AM

    Add to the list "Can't run a coroner's office."

  4. Anonymous10:19 PM

    This Hancock based lawsuit has already been dismissed.

  5. Anonymous10:00 AM

    I understand this lawsuit is being appealed. Stay tuned.