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LAWSUIT-1:  Unlawful Denial of
Referendum on ORD 18-39.
Documents to Download
Various Information
What are some of the problems that have been identified?
FAQ Page 
Trash Cart Mandate
How many carts?
At what cost?
Can I share or opt out?
Community News
Trash-related resources.  Community input & feedback.  Miscellaneous links. 
Real-Life Examples
Financial & Space Implications
Send Comments
to City Council.  Links to the most-recent version of Ordinance language.




the group opposing St. Paul's mandatory trash collection policy,


Will you help
by Donating to
our Legal Fund?


Why did more than 6,000 Saint Paul residents sign petitions?

Because of mandated...

What is our petition status?     We are disappointed that on November 14, 2018, the City Council adopted its Resolution 18-1922 finding that "the Petition for a referendum of Ordinance 18-39 is legally sufficient but that the subject matter is not appropriate to submit to the electorate."   

What's next?     First, a sincere Thank You to our supporters.  Change will come, but not quite yet.  We are actively exploring a number of options.

  • In order to enforce our right to vote on St. Paul's new trash plan, our only remedy is to sue the City.  We have retained Greg Joseph, the same attorney who successfully defeated the pre-emption claim on behalf of residents in Bloomington, MN.  [see Status]

  • Will you help by Donating to our Legal Fund?

  • To receive updates via e-mail, please sign up here:  Email newsletters 

  • Contact us:    or    651-300-7808  (voicemail or text)


We hear you...
BUT, our City Attorney says
you're stuck
with our mistakes.

Pioneer Press - 11/10/2018


PLEASE:  Contact Elected Officials.   

Give your opinion of St. Paul's new garbage program and the process by which it has been "rolled out."  Explain how the program, as currently designed, affects you, your family, and/or your neighbors.


Honest input can highlight the depth of citizens' disappointment, frustration and more. 

  • On November 14, 2018, the City Council's resolution chose an unfortunate course into the future. 

    • Over the coming months and years, the City Council's vote will cost a few thousand targeted garbage customers Millions of dollars in oppressive fees. 

    • There is no easy path out of this city-created mess.  

    • The City can choose to create a better future by honoring the best interests of all the people. 

    • Thousands of garbage customers hope they will.

  • Let's start running this like We the people.



Organized trash "arrived" in October 2018, in St. Paul.  Residents and owners of privately-owned 1-, 2-, 3- and 4-unit buildings are encountering significant changes.  (See Trash Cart Mandate)  Legislative ordinances that allow the City to implement this new "garbage program" did not receive public hearings and were not adopted by the City Council until August and September, 2018.  (See Send Comments



Read the fine print

before you pay your garbage invoice.

Click images to see an "offer" ...

... the City of St. Paul's "collections office"
(in Arizona)
says you can't refuse.

And, note the "start-date error."  ORD 18-39, allowing the City to fully implement its garbage program, was not effective until October 10th.   MEANWHILE, haulers charge from October 1st, thereby demanding payment for an extra nine (9) days of overcharges for empty, unnecessary and unwanted trash carts. 



Ramsey County says:     Less Trash  Reduced Bill
Saint Paul says:     NOT!

The BizRecycling program is an initiative of Ramsey/Washington Recycling & Energy (R&E).  R&E was formed over 30 years ago by Ramsey and Washington Counties as a joint powers agreement.  R&E is responsible for administering joint solid waste resource recovery activities and other selected programs on behalf of the two counties.  The Project Board is comprised of nine (9) elected county commissioners, five from Ramsey County and four from Washington County.  The BizRecycling program is staffed by members of the counties’ respective public health departments and is served by a variety of consultants.



Away From Home?

Don't forget your Permission Slip.

Thank the Garbage Police  [aka: Your Hauler(s)]

This one is not mandated by the City

Pioneer Press - NEWS Article - 11/04/2018

Pioneer Press - OPINION - 11/08/2018


Minnesota's Senator Amy Klobuchar, on September 28, 2018, was not talking about the organized collection of our household trash.  Her underlying message can, however, be applied to local policy-makers.  Senator Klobuchar's closing words to the Senate Judiciary Committee ring all too true in Washington, DC, and in St. Paul, MN:

"I come from a state that believes in process..."

"Right now, the way this process is run, we're not running it like We the people.  It's being run like We the ruling party."


For decades (probably since kindergarten)

  • Residents have been allowed - even encouraged - to share trash containers.  Although sharing benefits our community and almost always saves space and dollars, the City's new "garbage program" disallows sharing and opt-out. 

    • Example:  Can residents in my tri-plex continue to share one large trash cart?   NO!   Your tri-plex will receive and must pay for THREE trash carts at double or triple last year's cost.  NO sharing.  NO exceptions.

    • Example:  I was told that I can keep one cart and return two unwanted carts.  Will my garbage fees go down?   NO!   All units in your tri-plex will be billed, and must pay, for THREE carts.  Returned carts will not lower your cost.  NO opt-out.  NO exceptions.

  • All of us have been encouraged to "Reduce, Re-use, Recycle."  In doing so, many of us aim to become "zero wasters."  Some of us generate just one small bag of trash per month which we deposit in a helpful neighbor's trash cart, or we hand-carry to a local transfer station.  

    • Example:  Can I continue to opt-out of garbage service since I don't need it?   NO!   You will receive a trash cart and you are required to pay $268.00 per year for service you neither need nor want.  NO opt-out.  NO sharing.  NO exceptions.

Why?  Because the City and a consortium of Trash Haulers signed a five-year contract that says so.

Many citizens believe that at least some of the new rules are unreasonable.  Others take issue with the process by which the City entered into a five-year contract with Haulers.  (See Problems)

  • Although today this "garbage program" is limited to small buildings, its roll-out can be seen as a trial balloon for eventual changes to be forced onto all privately-owned residential dwellings.  

  • Not surprisingly, publicly-owned [e.g., City-owned] residential dwellings are exempt from these mandates -- a nice loophole that saves money, space, and administrative hassles.

  • St. Paul's "no sharing" policy forces thousands of targeted households to pay monthly charges to haulers for thousands of empty, unwanted and unnecessary trash carts.  And then, Ramsey County (@ 28%) and the State of MN (@ 9.75%) will assess fees -- fees that are not based on volume or weight of what is actually hauled; but instead, fees based on St. Paul's mandated PRICES.

  • The overall cost of city-wide organized collection should be cheaper, NOT more expensive.  But, the total "excess" cost of this contract (to be paid by consumers) is up about $11.6 million per year, not down.  (See Real-Life Examples) (See Cost Analysis by local analyst John Genereux)

We believe the city failed to fully engage with its citizens and failed to truly listen to the concerns that have been voiced for more than a year. 

We object to unneeded and overpriced carts cluttering the already limited space in alleys and yards.  (See Community News)

  • We care about neighborhood aesthetics.  We believe that “Reduce, Re-use, Recycle” is important.  

  • We have jobs.  We are retired.  We rent.  We own.  We ride the bus.  We drive.  We budget.  We compost.  

  • And…we are working hard to rein in and re-envision the process by which the City of St. Paul entered into its ill-advised 5-year garbage contract with trash haulers.

We believe that St. Paul voters - not the City Council - should decide whether to approve or reject the garbage ordinances as they exist today.   (See And-Then-What?) 

  • Public schools, charged with educating our children, must ask for additional funding via referendums.  

  • Meanwhile trash haulers and the city's bureaucrats have been working overtime to circumvent referendums on new garbage ordinances.  Apparently it is faster and more cost-effective to shake down residents via mandated price-fixing plus unneeded, unwanted and overpriced "service."   It could be called city-sponsored extortion.

  • Educators beg -- Haulers plus the city, county and

A referendum is the process by which a legislative ordinance adopted by the City Council is then "referred" or submitted to a vote to be taken by the city's residents, allowing the people to either approve or reject that ordinance. 

  • Petitions signed by voters may be delivered to the City after an ordinance is adopted, but will not be accepted more than 45 days after adoption & publication (i.e., this process works for new ordinances, not old ones). 

  • The right to petition and require a vote (per City Charter) existed long before St. Paul's garbage contract was signed in November 2017.

  • In August and September 2018, the Council adopted four new "garbage program" ordinances. 

  • Although the City's garbage contract was signed way back in November 2017, today's newly-adopted ordinances are what allows the City to implement the terms of that contract  (i.e., no ordinance = unused contract).  Assuming that referendum voters will reject today's ordinances, we urge the City and Haulers to step back and give this hot-button issue the thoughtful consideration it deserves but has not received. 

Voters are petitioning the St. Paul City Council for referendums on two of the four "garbage program" ordinances, 18-39 & 18-40.  (See Documents to Download)

  • Because two ordinances are involved, we circulated TWO petitions, we had two sets of deadlines, and 6,200+ St. Paul residents signed BOTH at the same time.  (See Status)  We submitted more than the required minimum number of valid signatures.  On 10/16/2018, we (temporarily?) suspended our collection of signatures.  BUT, depending on unpredictable City garbage program activity, something could change.    ...stay tuned...   (See Events and Locations )

  • September 27, 2018 -- Submitted first petition 

    • For Ordinance 18-40 -- which, in part, precludes (prohibits) "sharing" via revisions to existing code language. 

    • We hand-delivered 5,919 signatures on 689 pages of paper to the county elections office.  

    • On October 8th, the elections manager certified 5,071 signatures as valid - more than the 4,932 minimum required.

    • MPR


      Pioneer Press

  • October 16, 2018 -- Submitted second petition

    • For Ordinance 18-39 -- which created an all-new code chapter that allows the city to implement its new garbage program.

    • We hand-delivered 6,469 signatures on 755 pages of paper to the county elections office.

    • On October 31st, the elections manager certified 5,541 signatures as valid - more than the 4,932 minimum required.

    • Resolution 18-1922 (scheduled for discussion and adoption on Wednesday, 11/14/2018, 3:30 PM) says "the Petition for a referendum of Ord 18-39 is legally sufficient but that the subject matter is not appropriate to submit to the electorate.

    • Star-Tribune

      Pioneer Press


  • This continues to be an enormous task.  Thank you for joining us!

Questions?      Click  here  for our FAQ page.

  RECENT NEWS (June 20, 2018):   MN High Court Rules for Citizens Fighting Bloomington on Garbage 

This petition drive is a first step toward
achieving these GOALS:

  • Ability to Opt Out
  • Ability to Share Containers
  • Reduce Excessive Price Increases
  • Reduce Excessive Space Requirements
  • Make the Program FAIR TO ALL
Real-Life Examples
Financial & Space Implications
Then What?

Petitions now.  What's next?     ©2018