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Will Bloomington Voters Send City Hall a Message with Trash Issue on the Ballot?

In November Bloomington residents will finally get the chance to send a message to their elected officials and city hall power brokers over the blatantly illegal 2016 decision to usurp their right and freedom to have a say in trash collection service in the suburb.

Now the issue will be on the ballot following a Minnesota Supreme Court ruling that chastised city leaders for disenfranchising thousands of constituents by rejecting their petition for a ballot measure and opting to impose a one-size-fits-all single hauler garbage collection system citywide instead.

The citizens group Your Choice Bloomington puts it this way on their website.

“We believe citizens should have choices, over their own agency, their own property, and their own services. We trust the people of Bloomington to make the best choice for their children and households!”

True to form, however, the city continues to complicate the issue by putting two ballot questions before the electorate.

The first is essentially the question the city refused to let residents vote on four years ago.

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.”?

Approval of the wording in question one would clearly seem to eliminate the city’s single-hauler system and return the right to choose garbage collection services to residents.

But city hall tacked on a second ballot question that on the surface appears to largely echo the first.

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.”

The city website concedes that passage of the second question settles the issue once and for all.

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.

The citizen activists who forced the city to back down and give residents their say at the ballot box keep their slogan simple–“VOTE YES TWICE.”

“My hope with regard to trash collection is that the will of the people is expressed this November,” said attorney Greg Joseph, who represented residents pro bono. “But more than that, I hope that Bloomington residents remember how they have been treated by their city government, and use their charter rights to do something about it.”

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