It appears St. Paul's love-it, hate-it organized trash collection system will continue as is after a Ramsey County judge on Thursday stayed his previous order suspending the program.
According to a news release sent out by the city late in the afternoon, the judge's action means the program "will continue as normal pending the city's appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court."
Judge Leonardo Castro's previous order requiring the city to suspend its fledgling trash ordinance until voters can decide its fate through a referendum would have taken effect Sunday.
In his order staying suspension of the ordinance, Castro agreed with the city's assertion that the June 30 deadline wouldn't give property owners enough time to secure new arrangements for their trash.
But he denied the city's request that he stay a Nov. 5 referendum. The referendum should occur on that date if the city's appeal isn't sustained, he said.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter has said the organized program, which assigns specific haulers to certain neighborhoods on a single day of the week, will continue even if the city loses its appeal. In that case, the city and not property owners would pay haulers, with the city increasing property taxes to replenish budget reserves used to pay the bill.
"Today's ruling is a positive outcome for St. Paul residents and taxpayers," Carter said in a statement. "We are very pleased."
Carter has maintained that no matter what happens in court, the city will not breach its five-year contract with a consortium of private haulers. That means paying the haulers for more than 73,000 households for the rest of 2019, which will cost an estimated $13 million, the mayor said.
The city might have to take that from budget reserves, which could result in higher property taxes in 2020, Carter said. Carter was asked if the city might move to paying for hauling through property taxes in the future.
On May 30, Castro ruled in favor of St. Paul residents who sued to have the city's organized trash collection system put to a vote and ordered that the system be suspended by the end of June until voters can decide whether they want the city to oversee their trash collection.
Organized trash collection began in October 2018. St. Paul residents had hired their own garbage haulers for years.