By Erin Hassanzadeh

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – The Minnesota Supreme Court says the future of St. Paul’s trash collection must be put to voters in November, but the mayor says switching back to the old system could cost taxpayers.

At the J&S Bean Factory in St. Paul, trash pickup is a hot topic these days. Owner Steve VandeWater hears about it daily.

“I bring two bags of trash up here every week at my coffee shop which I’ve owned for over 18 years, and I’m still getting charged every month for trash pickup at my house,” VandeWater said.

In October, St. Paul residents lost the option to choose their own trash provider or to opt out of trash service altogether. The idea was to have fewer trucks drive through neighborhoods and to cut down on illegal dumping.

“There were online comments, and I started to download them and I couldn’t even fit them in a single binder,” said Patricia Hartmann, who is part of the group that filed a lawsuit against the city to add the issue on the November ballot.

Hartmann is also running for City Council.

Joel Shapira likes the change and says he actually saves money.

“I’ve seen less congestion, traffic and noise,” he said.

St. Paul voters will decide whether to keep the new system on Nov. 5.

If they vote no?

“The financial obligation for that would shift to the city through our general fund property tax levy as opposed to those rates that are currently funded by ratepayers,” Mayor Melvin Carter said.

Mayor Carter says that would mean a 17.4% property tax increase.

Erin Hassanzadeh