Minnesota Supreme Court rules St. Paul must pay trash haulers even if residents vote against system

If St. Paul residents vote down the city's trash collection system this November, the city will still have to follow through on its five-year contract with trash haulers, the Minnesota Supreme Court announced Wednesday.

The court's ruling affirmed a Ramsey County District judge's decision that said St. Paul residents have the right to vote on whether or not they want the current trash collection system.

In an opinion issued back in August, the Supreme Court directed a referendum to appear on the Nov. 5 ballot. However, it was undetermined if the city's contract would still be upheld if residents voted it down.

Under the current system, trash and recycling contracts were awarded by neighborhood. But, many residents have been unhappy about the lack of choice and increased prices. When the new program debuted last year, the city assigned what trash haulers would be used in each part of the city. The intent was to create uniform trash collection across the city, setting flat rates and cutting down on the number of garbage trucks driving down city streets and alleys.