In less than two months, St. Paul voters will go to the polls to vote on affirming or abolishing the city’s current trash-collection system. Here’s a look at what’s at stake with the measure; what a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ would mean, and why garbage pickup is so controversial in St. Paul: What’s this all about? Under state law, municipal governments must establish regulations for collecting garbage, and they have two options for doing so: They can create citywide pickup programs or they can allow residents to enter into individual contracts with haulers on a household-by-household basis. Supporters of coordinated programs say they level the playing field in terms of costs and pickup schedules, as well as mitigate illegal dumping and impact on the environment (less vehicles out and about wearing on roads, using fuel, emitting pollution, etc.) A study by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency found that residents in Minnesota cities with coordinated trash-collection systems paid less than those with the alternative setup, saving as much as $100 annually. For those reasons, cities across Minnesota — from St. Anthony to Maplewood to Sauk Rapids — have moved to uniform programs for residential areas in recent years. As of the late… Read full this story
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