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Columbia Residents Vote to End Roll Cart Debate, For Now

Emerald O'Brien

Columbia voters chose to end the roll cart debate at the polls Tuesday. Proposition 1 passed with 54 percent of the vote, banning the city from moving forward with roll carts for trash collection in any way for the next six months.


The proposition is mostly symbolic though, since city council had no actions planned for roll carts, and in six months the debate can start once again.


Second Ward Councilmember and Chair of the Committee for Roll Cart Choice, Michael Trapp, said that while neither council members nor residents can actually tie the hands of future government with a vote, the residents' choice is still meaningful.


“On a practical matter, the people have spoken and I at least when I'm on council in the absence of new information I'm not going to try to move forward on this,” Trapp said.


However, Trapp said he has heard at least one activist interested in bringing the issue up again in about a year.


There is also concern that this vote may not accurately reflect residents’ opinions, because the ballot language was confusing. The way it was worded, voting yes would support the banning of roll carts in the city, and voting no would support leaving the forum open to continue debate.


“There's certainly some evidence that the lack of clarity and the confusing language where ‘yes’ means ‘no’ and ‘no’ means ‘maybe’ was confusing to people,” Trapp said. “It was indicated in the media that least some people intended their vote to mean something different.”

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