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The Ramsey County city of Mounds View has been embroiled in a battle over organized trash collection for months.

This week, voters will have some say in the matter: In a special election Tuesday, the question of whether or not Mounds View will need voters' permission to move to city-organized trash collection will be on the ballot, alongside a contest to fill an empty City Council seat.

As it stands, Mounds View residents contract individually with one of five haulers that operate in the city.

Last year, the city revived old talks of changing that. Mounds View officials have said city-organized collection would decrease wear on the city's roads.

Amid that debate, residents gathered enough signatures to put a question on the April 9 ballot. It asks voters if they want to amend the city charter to require voters' approval to move to city-organized trash collection.

Mounds View also began the process of negotiating an organized trash collection contract with haulers — a regimented process governed by state law that's designed to give haulers a chance to remain in the market.

Soon, that process soured. Earlier this year, two haulers operating in Mounds View, Walters Recycling and Refuse and ACE Solid Waste, requested a temporary restraining order and filed a lawsuit against the city and officials, accusing the city of violating the process outlined in law. A Ramsey County judge ordered the city to continue negotiating in good faith.

In late March, the city terminated negotiations with haulers. Mayor Zach Lindstrom said the parties reached an impasse.

"The primary reason why negotiations ended is because they were not going to give us a price that was in line with other communities nearby, like St. Anthony," he said.

Lindstrom also criticized what he called misleading messaging from Garbage Haulers for Citizen Choice, a political committee that reported spending more than $6,800 on mailers and signs urging residents to vote yes in a pre-election report that covered activity through late March. ACE and Walters are both listed among the committee's participants.

Lindstrom said there is no organized opposition to the charter amendment, which he said he also supports because he wants voters to decide how their trash is collected.

Mike Moroz, the CEO and president of Walters, said in a statement that ACE and Walters are disappointed the Mounds View City Council and staff, in their view, "walked away from negotiations." Moroz accused city attorneys of not providing proper guidance and said haulers attempted to negotiate in good faith, "but were met with demand after demand for a BMW-priced contract, but with Chevy prices."

If voters approve the charter amendment, Lindstrom said the city plans to send the organized collection question to voters in the fall. The city will issue a request for proposals to get bids from haulers this week, he said, in order to provide pricing information in advance of that vote.

Also on the ballot is a special election to fill a Mounds View City Council seat. The candidates are Julie Clark and Jake Thies. A candidate forum can be found on the city's website.