Monday June 27 Council Vote - Organized Trash Charter

Will Bloomington City Council Reject Certified Petitions?

The charter amendment petition requiring a citizen vote on Organized Trash will be a topic of discussion at a Bloomington City Council meeting on Monday evening, June 27 (tonight!), as the last item on the agenda.    Based on the agenda item title “Accept City Clerk's Certificate of Sufficiency but Rejecting Petition for Charter Amendment as Manifestly Unconstitutional” it is expected the council will move once again to reject the citizens' petition.  The agenda item is not open for public comment.

You have the opportunity to be present when the petition is discussed by the City Attorney, the Mayor and the City Council.  If you believe it is important to stand up for the rights granted to the citizens by the Bloomington charter, be a witness.  The proposed Charter Amendment is not a vote on the pluses or minuses of Organized Trash Collection.  It is a request that it be put to a vote of the people of Bloomington.

The meeting starts at 7 PM.  This link at the city website connects to the agenda and also live-streaming of the meeting.  

Continue on to read more about the issue, the petition, and the importance of the Monday evening Council meeting. 

A Bloomington citizens group has actively worked to get the City Council to put Organized Trash to a vote of the people of Bloomington.  The citizens group took the City to court when the City Attorney rejected the second set of petitions that sought an ordinance to put the matter to a vote.  The judge ultimate determined that the citizens should not have petitioned for an ordinance but should have petitioned for a change to the City Charter. 

So the citizens group did exactly that.  On May 18, the Bloomington citizens group presented the Bloomington Charter Commission Secretary with a petition signed by over 2000 Bloomington registered voters.  On June 8, the petition was accepted by the Bloomington Charter Commission during a meeting called for that purpose.  The City Clerk has formally acknowledged the petition and certified that the 2,077 signatures exceed the minimum requirement of 1,730.

This is what the petition requested: 

“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 an ordinance, ordinance amendments, or charter amendments related to solid waste adopted by the City Council in 2015-2016.”

Over 2000 registered Bloomington voters asked that the question be put on a city-wide ballot of whether or not to implement Organized Trash.  Three times, more than sufficient numbers of Bloomington voters have told the city council they want the opportunity to vote on the matter.  The City Council should now accept the petition and have the language placed on the ballot.  If the Mayor and the City Council once again reject the petition, one has to wonder why they continue to work so hard to disenfranchise their citizenry.  

There has been a consistent pattern of disregarding the voice of the people at every step of the process. 

  • No questions were on the city survey to seek public sentiment about commercial trash collection.
  • No citizens were included on the OCOC committee.
  • The public hearing was scheduled on graduation night.
  • The majority of the public comments to the City Council were against organized collection, but the Council voted to proceed. 
  • Organized collection was promoted as being safer, less wear on the roads, reduce pollution, etc.).  This despite the memo from the Bloomington Public Works Director which pointed out that there are no measurable benefits to Organized Collection, only potentially perceived [my emphasis] benefits.