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Council resolves to keep residential trash collection unchanged

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Following a narrow 5-4 vote, Springfield City Council on Monday night officially ceased efforts to change residential trash collection, also halting a planned mandatory request for customer data from local trash haulers.

The decision comes after a lengthy debate on whether zoned trash collection should be adopted by the city. A recommendation to enact such a system in Springfield first surfaced in 2000 with the city’s Vision 20/20 comprehensive master plan, according to city documents.

Nearly a decade later, according to the city, the Springfield-Greene County Solid Waste Management Task Force in 2008 recommended adopting the system that would zone off the city into residential areas of service by designated trash haulers. A recent $109,000 city-commissioned report also outlined zoned collection as a benefit.

The city currently has an open-market system, allowing each residence to choose a trash hauler. A potential move toward zoned trash collection picked up steam in recent weeks, however, with the city announcing earlier this month a new public education and input initiative on residential trash collection.

Last night’s vote officially put the effort to bed, though some council members remained unwilling to give up trying.

Councilmen Mike Schilling, Thomas Prater, Craig Hosmer and Richard Ollis voted against ceasing the input initiative and business-information request. An affirmative vote from Mayor Ken McClure broke an otherwise gridlocked council.

Councilman Craig Fishel said during the meeting that, while zoned residential trash collection offered certain advantages, council has no desire to force unwanted change.

“It has been loud and clear that the citizens of Springfield like their trash haulers, and we’re not up here to change the way you want to do it,” Fishel said in support of eliminating efforts to consider zoned trash. “We were wanting input. We got it.”

Voting to keep alive the effort, Schilling warned before the vote that quitting now would void potential gains.

“I think we haven’t done enough due diligence on this, and it seems like cutting off things early,” Schilling said. “I think there’s some efficiencies to be gained here.”

Hosmer said it’s simply bad timing.

“If you look at what this resolution does, it says we can’t collect information and we can’t educate the public on what this proposal is,” he said. “The haulers, I think, are the group that are pushing this amendment. To stop information and to stop education, those are bad ideas – every time.”

A recent third-party poll suggested only 19 percent of Springfield residents support council making changes to the existing open-market system, with 60 percent saying they’re satisfied with the current cost of trash hauling.

The bill ceasing efforts for public input and trash hauler information resolves that the existing residential city trash collection system “shall remain unchanged.”

The resolution still allows council to seek full funding for the city’s solid waste management system, namely through “put-or-pay” landfill disposal contracts with trash haulers or via a “flow-control” ordinance. Both options require certain tonnages of waste delivered to the city landfill to ensure funding.

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shelia wright

i am so pleased that our council listened to the citizens. While i never pushed my opinion on others, i was pleasantly surprised at the numbers of people who shared with me their dismay over loosing our open market system. An open market is the american way and our citizens agree.

Tuesday, January 30
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