Environmental Law Blog
County officials are planning to divide the unincorporated areas of St. Louis County into eight trash collection districts. The hauler who submits the most cost-effective bid will be awarded a three-year contract with the County to provide trash hauling services for one of the eight districts. Some County residents are upset because, they argue, the contracts could put small haulers out of business, thereby increasing the overall cost of trash collection. Additionally, they believe the County's plan eliminates their ability to choose their own trash hauler. On the other hand, proponents of the County's plan maintain that the consolidation of trash hauling schedules will reduce wear and tear on roadways.
St. Louis County is not required to provide trash collection services to the unincorporated areas of the County by state law, but the County enacted its own local ordinance, which requires the County to have a contract with a solid waste collection and hauling service for all of its residents. Section 260.247, RSMo, generally requires political subdivisions, including counties, to give two-year's notice to private entities currently providing trash collection services to an area if the political subdivision expands its collection services into an area currently serviced by private entities.
Opponents to the County's plan cite § 260.247, RSMo as requiring the County to provide the two-year's notice to private haulers. Proponents of the plan claim that the County's home rule charter exempts the County from the statute because it infringes on the County's police power to legislate, or regulate, freely.
What do you think? Should a "home-rule" county be exempt from statutes like this one? What implications would it have on the economy and the environment if certain local government bodies are not subject to the same solid waste management laws as others?