Ballot questions: City-organized residential solid waste collection

Information about the ballot questions

In this year’s State General Election (November 3, 2020), Bloomington residents will have the opportunity to vote on the future of City-organized residential solid waste collection within the city. There will be two questions on the ballot.

Question 1 is about whether you want the City Charter to change the way Bloomington decides whether it will convert from a private trash hauler system to City-organized trash collection.

QUESTION 1: ADD VOTER APPROVAL TO CITY-ORGANIZED COLLECTION PROCESS

Should the Bloomington City Charter be amended to add: “Unless first approved by a majority of voters in a state general election, the City shall not replace the competitive market in solid waste collection with a system in which solid waste services are provided by government-chosen collectors or in government-designed districts. The adoption of this Charter amendment shall supersede any ordinances, ordinance amendments, or Charter amendments related to solid waste adopted by the City Council in 2015-2016.”?

YES______________

NO_______________

A “YES” VOTE:

A YES vote means that the voter wants to change the City Charter to require the voters, in an election, to decide if Bloomington should have City-organized solid waste collection.

A “NO” VOTE:

A NO vote means the voter does not want to change the City Charter and the voter wants to continue residential solid waste collection organized by the City.

Question 2 is about whether you want to change the City Charter, in order to prevent the City from contracting for City-organized solid waste (garbage, recycling, etc) collection. The passage of Question 2 is contingent of the passage of Question 1.

QUESTION 2: PREVENT CITY-ORGANIZED COLLECTION BY CONTRACT

If City Question 1 above passes, should the Bloomington City Charter also be amended to add: “The council shall not enter into a contract with residential solid waste haulers for the exclusive rights to haul and collect residential solid waste services within the jurisdictional boundaries of the City of Bloomington.”  A “yes” vote means you do not approve of continuing City-organized trash, recyclables, yard waste, bulky waste, and electronic waste collection.  A “no” vote means you approve of continuing with City-organized trash, recyclables, yard waste, bulky waste, and electronic waste collection.

YES______________

NO_______________

A “YES” VOTE:

A YES vote means you want to stop the current City-organized trash, recycling, bulky waste, electronic waste, and yard waste collection services.  A YES vote means you want to revert back to residents selecting their own individual private trash haulers.

A “NO” VOTE:

A NO vote means you want to continue the current City-organized trash, recycling, bulky waste, electronic waste, and yard waste collection services in the City of Bloomington.

FAQS

Why are these questions on the ballot?

Currently, Bloomington households have City-organized solid waste collection.  Bloomington moved to a City-organized solid waste collection system in 2016.  A resident petition was circulated to require the City to put the change to the voters as an additional step before moving to organized collection.  In February 2020, the Minnesota Supreme Court decided that a resident petition to require a vote before moving to City-organized solid waste collection was lawful.

Why are there two questions on solid waste on the ballot?

Question 1 restates the resident petition and requires the vote be asked at a state general election. The next state general election is November 3, 2020. Question 2 asks the voters to decide whether the current City-organized collection should continue.  The passage of Question 2 is contingent on the passage of Question 1.

What does “Residential Solid Waste Collection” mean?

Solid waste collection includes the collection of trash, recyclables, yard waste, bulky waste, and electronic waste that are generated by households in Bloomington.

What is City-organized collection?

City-organized collection is a system for collecting solid waste where a specified hauler, or an organization of haulers, is authorized by the City to collect the solid waste generated by city households. In consultation with the haulers, the City coordinates the pickup schedule and contracts with the haulers to provide the same level of service at the same price to all households.

What is “open collection” or “private collection”?

In an open or private system of collection, households must contract with their own haulers for solid waste collection. Haulers set their own prices, pick up schedules, and service levels for their customers.

Which households currently participate in City-organized collection?

All one- and two-unit households, and the townhome complexes that have opted into the City-organized system, currently participate to City-organized collection.

If the first question doesn’t pass, does the second question matter?

The passage of Question 2 is contingent of the passage of Question 1.  So, if Question 1 doesn’t pass, then Question 2 also doesn’t pass and City-organized collection continues in the City. 

Do I have to vote on both Question 1 and Question 2?

Questions 1 and 2 are asking voters to make different decisions. Voting on both Questions 1 and 2 ensures your preferences are considered.

Because these questions are on the ballot, do I still have to participate in organized collection now?

Yes, households are still required to participate in City-organized collection until after the vote. If the voters decide to end organized collection, households will be notified. The changes will not go into effect until 30 days after the election.  Households will be billed by the City through the last date of service.

If City-organized collection ends, do I have to hire my own private hauler?

Yes. If City-organized collection ends, households must make arrangements for their own solid waste pick up to occur at least once a week, in approved containers, for collection by a private, residential solid waste hauler.

If City-organized collection ends, when will I need to have a new hauler?

If residents vote to end City-organized collection, then City-organized collection will end 30 days after the election. This will be in early December 2020.  Residents will need to make their own arrangements for private solid waste collection (like they did pre-2016) with a hauler licensed to do business in Bloomington.

If City-organized collection ends, how much will I have to pay for solid waste collection?

The amount you pay will depend on prices charged by the private hauler you select.

If City-organized collection ends, how will I find my own private hauler?

Each household will need to make arrangements with a private hauler that is licensed to haul residential solid waste within Bloomington. The City will have a list of licensed haulers on its website.

If City-organized collection ends, will I still get a bill for garbage from the City?

No. The City will no longer send you a bill for your garbage, recycling, or yard waste service. Your private hauler will bill you for those services and you will pay the private hauler directly.

If City-organized collection ends, who do I contact for extra services or customer service?

Each household will need to contact its private hauler directly for extra services or customer service needs. The City will no longer take service calls related to residential solid waste collection.

If City-organized collection ends, what will happen to the current contract with the current haulers?

If residents vote to end City-organized collection, the City’s contract with the current haulers will end.  The haulers can charge the City $20 per cart to remove the current carts. The estimated cost to the City to remove these carts is $1 million.

If City-organized collection ends, will my service day change?

It may.  Each household will need to negotiate its pick up day(s) with the private hauler selected by the household.  City-designated pick up days by district will no longer exist.  

If City-organized collection ends, will the organics drop-off sites be closed or limited?

Yes, the City’s operation of organics drop off sites may be impacted if City-organized collection ends because the cost to operate these sites is funded from solid waste fees.

If Questions 1 and 2 pass, will the current Citywide Curbside Cleanup program end?

Yes, the current Citywide Curbside Cleanup program would end because the charter amendments would prevent the continuation of City-organized solid waste collection services.