Trash Negotiations Continue in St. Paul

May 22, 2018 05:26 PM

The City of Saint Paul has been in negotiations with the city's licensed trash haulers for the past seven months.

But those talks have stalled as the two sides squabble over matters ranging from pricing to a single contract representing all haulers.

Trash removal is a complex and lengthy issue in St. Paul.

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Currently, the city's residents must find their own hauler to have their garbage picked up. Trash collectors don't work in specific areas, so several different haulers may collect from a single block on multiple days of the week.

The city is looking to simplify that process.

"What the city council had directed us to do is to look at setting up a more coordinated system where there might be just one hauler assigned to any one neighborhood," said Anne Hunt of Mayor Chris Coleman's office.

At Wednesday's meeting, city council members decided to continue negotiating, but to give their team the authority to look at other options if the two sides fail to reach an agreement.

That could mean bringing in all new garbage collectors.

"If this goes out to bid, I've lost my entire life's work," hauler Jim Berquist said. "My company will not exist anymore because 90 percent of my business is in St. Paul."

Berquist said his side is willing to bend on pricing and contracts, but it appears not enough.

"We feel that we've come up with wording that covers all that (and) that the city should not object to, but they still do," he said.

Stuck in the middle are the 78,000 residents who need their trash picked up.

One of them, Jim Biegng, said he is open to change.

"Well, I think some change would be good because there's so many trucks going through the alley, going through the neighborhood," he said.

Both sides said they hope they can come to an agreement by summer.
 

Credits

Todd Wilson

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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