Keep Coordinated Collection
In Saint Paul, we all do better when we work together. That’s why we started coordinated garbage collection in our city. We wanted to lower truck traffic on our streets and alleys, reduce pollution, curb illegal dumping, and make sure our residents could access this most basic service — and it’s working. Let’s move forward together and focus on the things that matter to us in Saint Paul.
The October 16, 2019 Minnesota Supreme Court opinion has affirmed that:
- state law requires the city to ensure that residents have solid waste collection services;
- the city correctly followed the required public process to establish coordinated collection; and
- the 5 year contract between the city and the haulers consortium will remain in place, independent of the ballot question this fall.
On November 5 residents of Saint Paul will vote on the ballot question:
Should Ordinance ORD 18-39, entitled “Residential Coordinated Collection”, remain in effect for residential trash collection in St. Paul? Ordinance 18-39 creates new rules for the collection and disposal of trash and payment for trash service; and requires that certain residential dwellings have trash collected by a designated trash hauler.
A “yes” vote is a vote in favor of keeping Ordinance ORD 18-39.
A “no” vote is a vote to get rid of Ordinance ORD 18-39.
WHY VOTE YES?
- Vote Yes to keep the system we have now—we can’t go back to a system that no longer exists.
- One truck per alley. Vote Yes for less wear and tear on our roads and alleys. Good for the environment, safer for our residents.
- Vote Yes to protect public health and safety in Saint Paul—we need uninterrupted garbage collection.
- Vote Yes to keep the system fair—equitable pricing for residents across our city.
THE COST OF VOTE NO
- If residents vote no, the city’s contract with the garbage haulers will remain in place with no way to fund it other
than to raise the property tax levy. This cost for garbage collection for 2020 is estimated at $27.1 million.
- If residents vote no, property owners in Saint Paul would have to pay for garbage collection through property taxes — this would require the city to add an additional 17.4% property tax levy increase for 2020 alone. For a median value home, this would amount to a property tax levy increase of $184 in 2020 alone. For a median value commercial property, this would amount to a property tax levy increase of $664 in 2020 alone.
- Voting no could force commercial property owners to pay for a service they don’t receive.
- Voting no could cost renters more if their landlord’s property taxes go up.
- Voting no could force condo owners to pay twice for garbage service.
“A single diesel-fueled garbage truck produces as much greenhouse gas pollution as 50 houses, as well as large amounts of air pollutants that make people sick and noise that can cause long-term hearing damage. Reducing the number of garbage trucks on our streets is a positive move for our health and safety, and I’m glad that the City stepped up and did the hard work to make it happen. While the system we have can and should be improved, a “Yes” vote is a vote to keep moving in the right direction.”
—Matt D., Hayden Heights
“I’m voting yes for my family and my neighbors. We are better together!”
—Todd Dahlstrom, North End
“I am voting Yes because coordinated collection reduces our contribution to global climate change and my street is quieter and safer.”
“I want us to do everything we can to reduce our carbon emissions. Consolidated collection is part of the solution. Voting yes will allow us to move on from the trash debate and focus on the next step of collecting organics.”
—Leslie B., Highland park
“We’re so happy to have fewer trash trucks in our alley—much less noise and congestion. We also support the environmental benefits of organized trash collection. We chose the smaller trash can and we’re paying less overall than before.”
—Steve H., Summit-University
I started organizing alleys with a single hauler around 20 years ago in the Macalester-Groveland neighborhood. It made sense then. It makes sense today. Until the city council passed the ordinance a year ago, St. Paul was the only city in the country without organized trash collection. I learned a phrase from a farmer many years ago…organized collection is “dumb simple.”
—Todd Kolod, Merriam Park
“I support coordinated collection because as a young person I understand the existential threat of climate change and believe that if we want to lead as a city in this fight, we need to examine everything we do and find green solutions everywhere. Coordinated collections means our city will reduce its carbon footprint, something we must do.”
—Sami Banat, Saint Anthony Park
“I’m voting yes because the current system, though flawed, is a huge improvement over disorganized trash collection, with so much inefficiency as well as environmental and infrastructure harm. Improving the present contract and system is far more likely if “yes” prevails. “No” is a vote for chaos.”
—Chris Rohrer, West Como
“Both voting yes! After 12 years of paying for trash the $21 biweekly pick up is very reasonable for the little trash we produce. Less noise at 6AM. Love the free bulky haul away!”
—Laura P., Merriam Park
“I support a ‘Yes’ vote on the organized trash collection referendum for equity and sustainability reasons. Many people were paying a lot more than they are paying now for the same trash collection/disposal service, and I believe all homeowners should pay the same price for receiving the same basic city-wide service. It’s a public health issue! I also support a ‘Yes’ vote so that we can move on to better, more sustainable solutions, like curbside organics collection. Vote Yes for a more progressive, more sustainable future for Saint Paul!”
—Melissa Wenzel, East Side resident, District Council board member, Ramsey County Parks and Rec commission member, Sustainability advocate
“I’m voting yes because I like having one day when one garbage truck and one recycling truck come down our narrow residential street. There’s less noise, less wear and tear on the road, and seeing the neighbors’ trash out reminds me to put our own trash out! I have lived in envy of Minneapolis’ coordinated trash collection for years and I am so pleased that St. Paul has finally gotten coordinated collection. I never wanna go back to the way it was.”
—Jennifer K., Highland Park
“My garbage bill hasn’t changed much for the past 10 years. My current bill is actually cheaper now, even if it is by less than a dollar. I understand that I live in a neighborhood where the collection is more difficult for haulers. Because of the narrow alleys, and power lines, it requires 2 people per truck to pick up our trash. Furthermore, I believe that once we start paying for trash via our taxes, it will never stop, and we all will be billed for the largest can instead of having a choice. Who’s to say that we will ever not pay for trash through our taxes once it starts. I see no compelling reason for me to vote no. So I will be voting yes.” —Shawn T., Hillcrest
Tell us why you're voting yes!
Frequently Asked Questions
If I vote no, can’t we just go back to the old system? Wouldn't I be able to opt-out or share?
No. We can’t go back to a system that no longer exists and the City of Saint Paul has a contract with the garbage haulers. Voting No would leave the contract in place with no way to fund it other than to raise the property tax levy.
If I’m already paying for garbage service and I vote no, why should I care if I pay through my property taxes instead?
If you vote no, the cost of garbage service—$27.1 million in 2020 alone—would be shifted to all Saint Paul property taxpayers. Voting no could force commercial property owners to pay for a service they don’t receive. Voting no could cost renters more if their landlord’s property taxes go up. Voting no could force condo owners to pay for garbage service twice.
Isn’t the City just using a 17.4% property tax levy increase as a scare tactic?
No. Voting no will leave the contract in place with no way to fund it other than to raise the property tax levy by 17.4% to pay the estimated $27.1 million cost for garbage service in 2020. The City Council adopted a maximum levy which included this additional 17.4% property tax levy increase so that if voters repeal Ordinance 18-39, the city could protect public health and safety by making sure garbage service continues uninterrupted.
I’m a small business owner. If I vote no, will this impact me?
Yes. Voting no could force commercial property owners to pay for a service they don’t receive since they already separately contract for garbage service and would be paying for residential garbage service through property taxes
I’m a renter. If I vote no, will this impact me?
Yes. Voting no could cost renters more if their landlord’s property taxes go up and they pass this cost along to tenants.
I’m a condo owner in a larger multi-unit building. If I vote no, will this impact me?
Yes. Voting no could force condo owners to pay for garbage service twice since they already separately contract for garbage service and would be paying for residential garbage service through property taxes.
Didn’t the cost of garbage collection go up for everyone? Why is this a better system?
No. The City transitioned to citywide collection to ensure equitable pricing for residents across our city. Before, households paying above market rate were subsidizing those paying below market rate. Now, residents are paying equitable prices for equitable services.
Did moving to citywide garbage collection actually do anything to reduce pollution and traffic on our roads?
Yes. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency estimates that cities with organized collection use 375% less fuel that cities without. There are also far fewer heavy trucks picking up garbage, helping to reduce wear and tear on our roads.
If you don’t want to make a contribution using PayPal, you can mail a check (payable to “Yes for Saint Paul“) to Yes for Saint Paul, P.O. Box 4566, Saint Paul, MN 55101.