Fresno examining solid waste collection privatization

FRESNO, Calif.

Council members held a workshop Thursday to discuss selecting a private trash hauling company.

Residential trash pickup in the City of Fresno is in the process of going private. But before a solid waste service franchise can start doing business the city needs to choose a bidder.

The council held a workshop to begin negotiating a contract. This starts the process with the four competitors: Allied Waste, Caglia Environmental, Mid Valley Disposal and Sunset Waste all submitted proposals.

Representatives of some those trash hauling companies were on hand including mid valley disposal, which is being recommended to council as the top choice by a consultant. They plan to offer employment to all displaced city workers.

"If the city were to proceed with awarding a franchise, then those employees would be offered employment with the franchise service providers then at that point," Fresno Public Utilities Director Patrick Wiemiller said.

Just last year the city privatized its commercial solid waste program in order to fill a portion of the budget gap.

The mayor is now asking the council to privatize residential trash pickup as a cost-saving measure. But not everyone is on board.

"I've always been on the other side of privatization, I did not support it when we did commercial, and I don't support it while we're doing residential," City Council Member Blong Xiong said.

Even some council members in favor of privatization expressed frustration with the process.

"That is a really quick turnaround time, given that we just got this material," council member Andreas Borgeas said.

The council is being asked to select a bidder by the end of the month. A quick decision that many say they just aren't ready to make.

"We just got the package today and we've only touched just the questions. The question that probably all seven of us have and don't forget the constituency that we represent," Xiong said.

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