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Trash Deal: What Do Residents Want?

Creve Coeur City Council approves Allied Waste extension.

After a lengthy debate, Creve Coeur City Council members voted to approve an extension of the city's trash hauling contract with Allied Waste Monday night. The decision followed a protracted discussion which, and what exactly the proposal promised voters in terms of future service expectations.

Under the terms of the agreement, "Allied Waste will not charge the City any residential unit fees for condominiums (eliminates 500 units), and shall only charge monthly dumpster fees of $1,741.17 for multifamily properties including but not limited to condominiums," according to the language in the resolution. In exchange, the city guarantees Allied Waste a 3 percent annual increase in fees.

City staff told council members previously that the environment for a competitive bid was unlikely, given the city's needs for service, but at least one competitor appeared before the council two weeks ago to urge a competitive bid. Monday, that competitor, IESI was back to encourage a bidding process, while further investigation from city staff found interest from other haulers in competing if given the opportunity.

Sales Tax Debate

The question about the future of trash hauling service doubled back to questions surrounding Allied Waste's role in financing marketing materials for the successful 2010 campaign to raise the city's sales tax en lieu of charging a fee for trash collection for three years.

"I have no grudge with Allied Waste whatsoever," said Ward 4 Councilwoman Jeanne Rhoades, a frequent critic of the Creve Coeur Cares sales tax campaign who said the council owed it to the public to achieve the best service at the best price."

That sentiment was tempered by City Administrator Mark Perkins, who argued for the extension, citing the lack of consensus on the future of rear yard service, on top of the potential problems city residents might face with changing haulers.

But Rhoades ultimately offered an amended version of an extension, further amended by Ward 1 Councilman David Kreuter, to extend the contract for two years, because council members agreed that the city made a commitment to residents via the sales tax campaign to maintain both curbside and rear yard service for a period of three years at the time of last year's vote. Rhoades' move to require the city to take the contract to bid in two years was defeated, meaning the city could commit to the rest of the initial five year extension if conditions merited it.

Now, the city will use the next two years to investigate what residents want in their trash service before deciding if where that service should come from needs to change.

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