The trash talks involving Fresno's residential solid waste collection have intensified. On Tuesday, city leaders laid out a worse-case scenario if the Mayor's plan for privatization do not go through. "It is urgent that the council consider and move forward this franchise next week. All of the analysis is in and we believe it is the right thing to do for our community,' said Mayor Ashley Swearengin.
The Mayor is pushing to outsource residential pickup to a private franchise to save money and help with the budget gap. She says privatizing will bring in more than $2 million a year in revenue. Last year, the city outsourced its commercial solid waste program to save money.
If the council does not begin the process of privatizing by next week, city leaders say they will have to tap into the general fund -- which may force the police department to lay off officers through attrition. "We cannot afford to lose any more officers, especially in light of the fact when revenues go down significantly like they will, that we're going to perhaps lose an additional 20 police officers," said police chief Jerry Dyer.
But opponents are calling this a scare tactic. "She's going to grasp at anything and everything she can to make this come to light and it's a threat," said Marina Magdaleno while referring to the Mayor's plans. Magdaleno represents the city's trash haulers and says if the council goes with a franchise, workers will earn less money. "They're not going to be able to live. Many of them will lose their homes because they have come accustomed to making a certain wage," said Magdaleno.
Still, the Mayor says the only option is to go private or risk public safety. "If given the choice between franchising residential solid waste and seeing further heavy cuts to public safety, I think franchise is clearly the best step for the community," said Swearengin.
The council will hold a public hearing at City Hall next Thursday to discuss the matter. They are expected to vote on a resolution of intent to award a franchise.