The Minnesota Supreme Court’s decision has created a lot of debate about what a “no” vote will mean for the future of St. Paul’s organized trash collection program.
What the Court actually said is that the referendum must go on the ballot and that a referendum does not “impair” the contract between the city and the haulers consortium. The Court clearly avoided ruling on whether or not a repeal of the ordinance would enable the city to void its contract with the hauler consortium.
However, what the media reported, citing the talking points of Mayor Carter, is that the contract cannot be altered and that the only option is to raise taxes to pay the costs of trash collection.
We think the media got it wrong. Buying into the city’s scare tactics that a no vote means “your taxes will go up” is irresponsible and inaccurate. In fact, a successful no vote at the polls is the only way to trigger the agreement’s oft-cited force majeure clause, relieving both parties of their obligation to fulfill the contract.
Such an outcome does not require the parties to end the contract, but it does give them that option. And a repeal of the ordinance that created the coordinated trash system is the only way the city can gain the leverage it needs to force the haulers back to the bargaining table and fix the problems that the badly-flawed, one-sided contract created.
Contrary to the Mayor’s statements, whether or not the city chooses to raise taxes next year has nothing to do with the outcome of the trash referendum. A no vote opens the door to many options for lowering the overall cost of trash, including cart sharing and opt out provisions.
Only if the city refuses to seek a revision of the contract would nothing change.
Bottom line: a yes vote preserves the status quo. A no vote makes change possible.
We also need to dispel a false rumor being propagated by one of the organizations pushing a “Yes” vote. They claim our coalition is a Republican-driven effort. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The Vote no coalition includes St. Paul residents of all political parties, including many Democrats who voted for Mayor Carter and a former Green Party candidate for Mayor. We are renters, homeowners, landlords, zero-wasters, and even supporters of organized trash collection!
We are working to improve the current system, and efforts by DFL party operatives to divide the issue along partisan lines has no place in the referendum debate.
People should not fall for scare tactics by the city. But you have to get involved so that others don’t let fear rather than facts persuade them how to vote.
Other ways you can help:
- Contribute vitally-needed funds online
- Knock on doors and drop lit
- Display a Lawn Sign (pick up locations here)
- Hand out flyers and information at community events & debates
- Participate in phone banks where you will contact potential voters and urge them to VOTE NO
- Speak out at community events involving your church, block club, mom’s group, etc.
- Reach out to neighbors on social media (Facebook, Nextdoor, etc)
As an entirely grassroots, volunteer campaign, we can’t do it without you!
Thank you for your continued support!