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St. Paul votes to keep organized trash collections

It was the hot button issue on Election Day 2019.

St. Paul will continued with the organized trash collection system implemented last year, following a comfortable win on Election Day.

The "Yes" vote in favor of organized trash collection won by a margin of 62.7 percent to 37.2 percent, with just a few precincts left to report.

Mayor Melvin Carter, who has championed the new system that was introduced by previous mayor Chris Coleman, had this to say on the "Yes" victory.

The referendum question was posed after a group of residents opposed to the new trash collection system brought a lawsuit against the city after it denied a petition calling for a public vote.

A judge found in favor of the lawsuit from the residents, who want to revert back to the old system of trash collection whereby residents would contract private vendors to take away their garbage.

The system now sees residents charged standardized rates for citywide garbage pickup, with trash haulers given designated routes rather than their routes being dependent upon their customers.

The referendum posed on Tuesday was somewhat complicated, however, by the fact that even in the event of a "no" vote, the city would still have had to honor the five-year, $27.1 million contract it struck with its current garbage haulers under the organized collections system.

Mayor Melvin Carter warned that property prices would likely have risen to cover this cost in the event of a "no" vote.

One of the main criticisms of the previous system was that the same street could see multiple garbage trucks on the same day as residents would contract with different providers, while supporters of an organized collection system also say it cuts down on illegal dumping.

But some of the opponents to organized collection say their prices have gone up – even though prices for others have gone down – and also say the new system penalizes the city's zero waste residents.

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