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St. Paul Park suspends Waste Management trash license for a week over records issue

St. Paul Park officials will suspend Waste Management's trash-hauling license for a week because they say the company has failed to comply with city requirements.

City officials said last week that on repeated occasions, Waste Management has failed to submit recycling tonnage reports to the city on time, even after several reminders.

Tonnage reports are needed for the city to get its annual recycling grant from Washington County, which has had numerous problems with the company, City Administrator Kevin Walsh told the City Council.

The council unanimously voted to suspend the trash hauler's license for the week of March 3. Waste Management has 70 customers in St. Paul Park.

Council member Jennifer Cheesman asked if the company had given a reason it didn't submit timely reports.

"They blow us off," Walsh said, until he tells them he's ready to take the matter to the council.

Mayor Keith Franke said he would prefer fining the company rather than disrupt service to customers but that isn't an option in the city's code. He suggested the city staff look into adding a process for issuing fines.

People will put out their trash thinking it will be picked up, said council member Sandi Dingle, adding that she hopes customers will put pressure on the hauler.

Instead of a suspension, council member Tim Jones said the city should send Waste Management a letter telling them they will not get their license renewal next year. Down one week's service won't hurt the company, he said.

St. Paul Park relies on its county recycling grants to pay for programs to encourage more recycling. Those include a $50 cash award if a resident selected at random is seen recycling, an appliance recycling day and other promotional efforts.

Judy Spooner
Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
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