St. Paul officials should consider moving the city's controversial organized trash collection system in-house to better serve residents, a citizens' advisory committee told the City Council on Wednesday.

The 18-person St. Paul Garbage Advisory Committee, tasked with addressing continuing frustrations around the capital city's trash system, produced a sprawling 48-page report with recommendations on everything from troubleshooting billing issues to negotiating future contracts with haulers.

If municipal trash service isn't feasible, the committee said, the city should at least take over billing and customer service for the consortium of private haulers that have served the capital city in recent years. For-profit garbage haulers should compete to participate in organized trash collection through a request-for-proposal process, and future contracts between the city and haulers should be shorter and have "more teeth" to ensure accountability, they said.

Committee Member Sarah Axtmann, who presented the group's recommendations to the council, said community members feel frustrated with the current arrangement under which customers with complaints must call their hauler before alerting the city.

"We would love to see customer service come into St. Paul," Axtmann said.

Mayor Melvin Carter appointed the advisory committee last year in response to community complaints about trash pickup.

Council President Amy Brendmoen expressed support at Wednesday's council meeting for the city taking a bigger role in trash hauling, acknowledging the frustration at the customer service patchwork currently provided by a handful of private haulers.

"I love the notion of moving billing and customer service to the city," Brendmoen said. "Cutting out the middle person seems more transparent and easier for people to deal with."

Axtmann said there was less committee consensus on issues including whether residents should be able to share trash bins with neighbors or opt out of trash services altogether.

The city's current contract, which took effect in October 2018, replaced a decades-old system that left individual property owners to arrange their own method of waste disposal.

Officials said the new system was intended to scale back truck traffic, pollution and wear-and-tear on streets, while also standardizing rates. But opponents got the issue on the ballot in 2019.

Those in favor of organized trash collection won with nearly two-thirds of the vote, but the issue has remained a subject of controversy among residents.

The city received nearly 3,000 reports of missed trash or yard waste pickups in the first 10 days of June. St. Paul leaders demanded answers from the five companies the city contracts for hauling services.

The city's Public Works staff will also be drafting a report with recommendations at a later date, said Susan Young, the department's manager of Resident and Employee Services.

"You have given us a lot to chew on while we are figuring out our next steps," said Council Member Jane Prince.

Staff writer Katie Galioto contributed to this report.