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County approves fine for "outside" trash haulers

By Rachel Lippmann, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – The St. Louis County Council has approved the final part of its controversial trash districting plan.

The plan divided unincorporated St. Louis County into eight trash districts, and awarded contracts to three companies that allowed them to be the only hauler in those districts. But in court, the county's attorney admitted there was no enforcement mechanism.

The ordinance approved Monday night sets a $50 fine for other haulers that try to gain customers in the districts. It also loosens some of the requirements for disabled customers and allows customers to stop trash pick-up if they are gone for an extended period of time. Those add-ons were enough to pick up Councilwoman Barbra Fraser's vote.

"The County has given contracts, has awarded contracts I should say, to various trash haulers who by the very nature of the contract expect to have the people in the county as their clients," she said.

All three Republicans, including Councilman Greg Quinn, voted no.

"If the county's program is a good deal for the citizens, they'll use it," he said. "If the county's program is not a good deal for citizens, or if the hauler who received the county contract doesn't provide good service, the citizens should be free to choose another hauler. Under this program, citizens will not be free to choose another hauler."

A state lawsuit is still pending over the legality of the trash plan.

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