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Both sides of trash debate in St. Paul reaching out to voters

Updated: October 02, 2019 07:25 PM

The debate over trash collection in St. Paul will be on the November ballot.

For the past year, a group of people challenged the city's new trash collection system and successfully put the future of the program in the voter's hands. Now, there's an organized group on the other side of the debate.

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The "Say Yes St. Paul" campaign launched this week in the hopes of keeping the organized trash system as is.

"It's working," said Jon Schumacher, with "Say Yes St. Paul."

Schumacher is all-in on St. Paul's new trash pickup service.

"Right now, it's a system that's equitable for everybody," Schumacher said. 

For about a year now, the new system has supposedly streamlined trash collection. Each street or alley has one designated hauler, prices are consistent, and it's meant to reduce traffic and pollution.

"In our alley here, we used to have 4-5 trucks coming through every day," Schumacher said.

But another grassroots effort isn't so supportive.

"It's actually unethical for a municipality to even go in this direction," said Patty Hartmann, who is voting "no."

Many prefer it the way it was because it allowed residents, especially those in duplexes, to share containers. Plus, people who don't have much waste could opt out.

"They're having people, like myself, who don't produce a lot of waste pay just as much as people who throw out quite a bit of garbage, I think that's just unfair," said Peter Butler, who is voting "no."

Mayor Melvin Carter warned residents that repealing the service would likely introduce a property tax increase of 17 percent. That's because they still have to honor the contract and instead of individual customers paying their trash bills, the money would instead come out of the city's general fund.

"That would be disastrous for our city," Schumacher said.

Others believe that's just a scare tactic.

"We think it needs more time to be more thoughtfully analyzed," Hartmann said.

Schumacher believes some tweaks to the program could be beneficial.

"You've got a new system and it will take time to really adjust it to make sure that it works," Schumacher said.

Mayor Carter is encouraging residents to educate themselves on the issue. To learn more about both sides of the debate, you can visit the links below.

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Credits

Brett Hoffland

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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