MACON TRASH REMOVAL - A Legal History
On December 13th, 1976, in the case of Craig vs. City of Macon, the Missouri Supreme Court heard the complaints of five Macon residents - complaint being that the mandatory trash removal and the cost of that removal ($2.45) was an improperly levied tax for a service they did not use. The term "tax" was properly defined in the case of Leggett v. Missouri State Life in which stated that a "tax is a proportional contribution imposed by the state upon individuals for the support of government and for all public needs." Taxes are not payments for special services or even special privileges. A service charge/fee is a payment for a service in return; It does not increase any general fund or provide revenue into the city. In the case of Craig vs. City of Macon, it was determined that with city ordinances the service charge that was required for residents to pay, only went to accommodate the disposal cost that the city had with the contractor. With the contractor charging $2.45 for the service, the City of Macon by legal ordinance, was only allowed to charge $2.45 to it's residents. None of the money went into the general fund of the city - again, differentiating itself from a tax (a tax brings in revenue to the city, this service charge does not). Furthermore, the Missouri Supreme Court determined that the trash removal fee was simply a service charge, not a tax. Reported by the Associated Press, "After the legislature mandated the cities throughout the state to institute a solid waste disposal plan as a means of protecting the environment and public health, the court held that the financing of the plan through a mandatory charge was not a tax, but a charge for services resulting from the plan."
"Although the appellants may not have waste to be collected, the regulatory scheme protects the entire public, not just those who have waste for disposal by responsibly removing a source of disease from the community," the court held.
All justices of the Missouri Supreme Court upheld the mandatory collection in Macon, Missouri and that the residents refusing to pay the mandatory trash removal service charge, had to indeed pay.
Please support the Macon County Home Press by subscribing today!