A petition to overturn the city of Upper Arlington's decision to privatize trash pickup has been turned in. Mike Schadek and Jim Becker, local residents and attorneys who led the petition drive, submitted the petition to city finance director Cathe Armstrong on July 25.

A petition to overturn the city of Upper Arlington's decision to privatize trash pickup has been turned in. Mike Schadek and Jim Becker, local residents and attorneys who led the petition drive, submitted the petition to city finance director Cathe Armstrong on July 25.

Schadek said he and other volunteers obtained 2,030 signatures -- well above the 1,387 signatures necessary to place the trash issue on the Nov. 4 ballot.

"I can count the number of people who didn't want to sign the petition on one hand," Schadek said. "I think people are so frustrated with the lack of service."

Since Texas-based Inland Service took over trash collection from the city's now-defunct solid waste division at the beginning of April, the city has fielded complaints from residents that Inland has missed households along collection routes and that workers have haphazardly tossed trash cans in yards and driveways after collection.

In a May 22 letter to city manager Virginia Barney, Inland president Robert Smith acknowledged that Inland employees have made mistakes, including mistaking trash for recycling, which led to trash being left at the curb uncollected. Assistant city manager Joe Valentino said the city has worked with Inland to resolve these issues.

Armstrong's office will hold the petition until Aug. 4 before forwarding it to the Franklin County Board of Elections, which will verify names and addresses and return the petition to Armstrong. Armstrong will then certify the petition so that the solid waste issue can be placed on the ballot.

Schadek said he submitted the petition to Armstrong nearly a month before the Aug. 21 deadline to give the certification process plenty of time to unfold.

"We're hoping to know by the end of August" whether the petition has been certified, Schadek said.

Even if the petition initiative obtains enough votes in November, legal questions remain as to whether the city will have to reassemble its solid waste division.

City attorney Jeanine Amid Hummer has said legal precedents protect municipalities' ability to deliver essential services without interference.

"I respectfully disagree with Jeanine on that point," Schadek said. "City council can do anything they want. I think they should go with the will of the people. If the people say they want to go back to the old system, city council can void that contract (with Inland)."

Inland's Smith could not be reached for comment.

cbournea@thisweeknews.com