Overland has offered free trash service for the past three years to residents whose income is no more than 150 percent of federal poverty guidelines. The City Council is considering raising the qualification level to 160 percent, to include more people. A total of 108 households now qualify under the 150 percent guideline.
The council agreed on Monday night to consider the change, beginning in August; later, the council also will consider asking voters to approve the city's first park sales tax, a half-cent, on the November ballot.
Increasing the income threshold for trash payment assistance was promoted by council member Ken Owensby. City trash service bills are about $22 a month. But Owensby was quick to oppose the sales tax proposal, saying residents couldn't afford it and the election cost itself would be a waste of funds.
Councilman Jerry May said the council got a city attorney's opinion in 2008 that the free trash service program is illegal, but other members disputed this. An attorney's opinion will now be secured in writing, the council agreed.
In the meantime, Overland is one of the few St. Louis County cities where voters can approve a park sales tax but have not yet done so, officials said. Projections show that it would produce $1 million for parks and/or stormwater services annually.
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