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Ellisville Mystery: Why Does Draft of Budget Nix Free Trash Pick-Up?

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KMOX/Michael Calhoun/file

KMOX/Michael Calhoun/file

calhoun2 Michael Calhoun
A native St. Louisan, Michael Calhoun grew up listening to the Voice...
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ELLISVILLE, Mo. (KMOX) - The first draft of Ellisville’s budget, released to the citizenry and posted prominently to the front page of the city’s website, appears to nix the longtime perk of free trash and recycling pick-up.

But some city leaders feel like they’ve been left out at the curb by city staff.

“For them to come and say ‘this is off the budget’ without even advising the [city] council is ridiculous,” Mayor Adam Paul tells KMOX.

He says the proposed cut is a ploy by staff members to make it seem like a long-disputed Walmart development is necessary or services will disappear. He notes that the staff were hired by the City Manager, who council members voted last month to oust.

Paul’s vow: “We will not be losing any services. We will not be losing garbage pick-up.”

Sales tax revenue, according to the Mayor, has been increasing the last three years and is ahead of projections thus far this year. He says he doesn’t understand, then, why a decrease in revenue is budgeted for next year.

He also points out that expenses on debt will be down by about $700,000, but the city will spend more on administration.

“I believe our city is running top heavy,” Paul said, adding that he thinks staff is “sandbagging” lines of the budget.

Council mmeber and frequent Paul adversary Matt Pirrello says he was equally surprised by the proposal to take out the trash.

“It seems as if there’s plenty of money to cover the trash pick-up,” Pirrello said. “So I don’t really understand,” although he reiterated his belief that, without the revenue from the seemingly-stalled Walmart development, services could eventually be axed.

“They didn’t say that when they spent over $200,000 to impeach me or $13,000 on a P.R. firm!” Mayor Paul remarked.

Trash pick-up in Ellisville is estimated to cost $485,400 this fiscal year. A budget work session is tonight at 6 at City Hall.

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