Thursday, April 14, 2011

STL County May be on Hook for $23 Million in Legal Damages for Trash Program

KMOX radio reports that St. Louis County is warning publicly that it might be on the hook for $23 million in legal damages. The notice comes after the advice of the county’s financial advisor, Jeff White of Columbia Capital Management, and relates to a lawsuit filed by trash haulers against a controversial trash districting program.

County Counselor Pat Reddington explained that, before the county can issue bonds, it must explain “what our financial liabilities and assets are. It’s kind of routine to do that. It’s required, in connection with the sale of bonds.”

The suit is currently pending before the Missouri Supreme Court, with the next hearing scheduled for May 31st.

Based on bids opened last week by St. Louis County for the odd-numbered trash districts (1, 3, 5, 7), Allied Waste Services is the apparent winner in all four districts. Allied beat out IESI, Meridian, and Waste Management in each district and also beat out Christian Environmental Services that submitted bids only in the 3rd and 5th districts.

In some districts, Allied was more than $2 per month lower than its nearest competitor. Bids for the even numbered districts will be opened by St. Louis County on April 26.

By Allied winning the new five-year contracts in trash districts 1, 3, 5, and 7, IESI is eliminated as the designated hauler for district 1 in far north unincorporated St. Louis County, as of October, 2011. Next week’s bids will reveal whether Allied will gain even more trash district turf and whether IESI will lose one or both of its districts. Next week will also determine whether the trash district program will remain as a near monopoly with only two haulers or whether it will become a true monopoly as has been predicted by trash district opponents.

The unsuccessful bidders, IESI, Meridian, and Waste Management, as well as any other haulers, are barred from contracting with any unincorporated county residents, with the exception of those subdivisions that have previously “opted-out” of the county program. The “opt-out” period “for subdivisions with a form of governance” ended in early 2008. The controversy over the county’s implementation of trash districts without a vote of the people and questions concerning the legality of the districts is at issue with four lawsuits pending in the courts.


  1. Anonymous10:45 AM

    AHH, another fine wheelbarrow full of fertilizer from Reddinton! And hasn’t this program saved County residents a lot of money? How will they pay this debt if the decision goes against them? Stand by for property and sales tax increases. And isn’t that light at the end of the tunnel a train coming the other way?
    If Dooley is such a great executive why do they have to hire outsiders to give financial management advice? It all seems a bit incongruous.

  2. Anonymous7:55 AM

    Any monetary damages paid by the county are really bad by the Taxpayers in St. Louis County.

    Bad management and bad leadership by St. Louis County Charlie Dooley and his group of "we can do anything we want" administration folks, is costing us taxpayers big dollars.

    This "Trash Tragedy" is ridiculous.