Pine Lawn Residents Really Don't Like Paying for Trash Pickup


It's going to take a lot of work to clean up Pine Lawn.
  • It's going to take a lot of work to clean up Pine Lawn.
That headline is perhaps the most memorable factoid culled from a state audit into the finances of the north St. Louis County suburb.

According to the audit released yesterday, 799 trash customers in Pine Lawn (or 63 percent of all accounts) were delinquent on their trash bills at the start of 2011. In total, those customers owed the city $1.4 million in overdue bills in January.

Yet even if all customers paid the bills, the city would still be going broke providing trash pickup. That's because the private trash hauler charges the city $23 per customer, but the city -- per a local ballot issue passed in 1999 -- can only charge residents $12 a month for trash service. 

But that's not all.

The audit also found the city to be in violation of state Sunshine Law and guilty of lax fiscal oversight in a number of areas, including spending from its general fund and monitoring the mileage that Mayor Sylvester Caldwell and other officials place on a city-owned vehicle.

State Auditor Thomas Schweich gave the city an overall "poor" ranking, the worst score possible for a public entity. Read the auditor's full report here.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.