State law regarding garbage collection

Here is a memo from the city attorney explaining how we get this done:

In reading the agenda packet for Monday’s Committee of the Whole meeting, I saw several references in the garbage collection materials to a legislative change that occurred in 2013. I tracked down that legislative change and wanted to give you more details as to what that law says.

The 2013 amendment to Minn. Stat. §115A.94 authorizes a city to organize the manner in which solid waste (garbage) is collected. The “organized collection” method involves the process whereby a specified collector (garbage hauler) or an organization of collectors (garbage haulers) are permitted to collect solid waste (garbage) from a defined geographic service area (city boundaries) or areas (district). If a city decides to go down this path, it must do so by ordinance, franchise, license, negotiated or bid contract, or other means. More importantly, a city must undertake the following actions:

  • The city must notify the public and the licensed garbage haulers within the city as to its consideration of organizing residential garbage waste.
  • The city must provide a 60-day time period during which meetings and negotiations occur “exclusively” between the garbage haulers and the city.
  • The purpose of the meetings and negotiations is to develop a proposal for the organized collection of garbage from designated sections of the city. The proposal must include the city’s policy priorities (traffic, safety, environmental performance, service provided, and price) and must reflect the existing garbage haulers’ “respective market share of business as determined by each hauler’s average customer count during the six months prior to the commencement of the 60-day negotiation period.”
  • The agreed-upon proposal is reduced to an “organized collection agreement” which must be in effect for three to seven years and which must be the subject of a public hearing.

If the city and the licensed garbage haulers are unable to reach agreement on the organized collection of garbage during the 60-day time period, the city must undertake the following actions:

  • The city must establish an “organized collection options committee” to identify, examine, and evaluate various methods of organized collection of garbage.
  • The committee must: (1) determine which methods of organized collection to consider; (2) establish a list of criteria to be used in the evaluation of the various methods of organized collection of garbage; (3) collect information from other cities and towns; and (4) seek input from the city council, the public works official responsible for solid waste issues, licensed garbage haulers, and city residents.

Ultimately, the committee issues a report and recommendation to the city council.

The city council must provide public notification of and hold at least one public hearing on the report and recommendation.

The city council must then decide whether to implement organized collection. Any such implementation may not begin until at least six months have passed from the date the city council decided to implement organized collection.

Bottom line: There are stringent legal processes and timelines that must be followed if the Mayor and Council wish to consider the possible implementation of organized collection of garbage.

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