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 will leave the contract in place with no way to fund it other than to raise the property tax levy (as stated by the recent Minnesota Supreme Court decision).

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 would 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.