Judge: St. Paul trash plan suspended starting June 30, issue to go to ballot

St. Paul voters will have their say on the city’s trash collection policy after a judge ordered the City Council did not have the authority to reject a ballot measure on the issue in 2016.

Judge Leonardo Castro, of Ramsey County District Court, ruled Thursday that residents who put together the ballot measure in 2016 were unlawfully denied the chance to have it voted on in November of that year.

The judge ordered that the city’s current trash ordinance be suspended effective June 30, 2019 until voters can be heard on the referendum on the general election ballot on Nov. 5, 2019. The City Council can call a special election ahead of the general election date.

For years, St. Paul’s ordinances dictated an open hauling system where residents could contract with trash haulers privately. In 2016, city officials began looking into organizing the collection of trash themselves, eventually passing the ordinance to do so. That policy went into effect Oct. 1, 2018.

Over 73,000 households are on the current citywide program.