Garbage privatization deal may be approved this week

FRESNO, Calif.

It looks like a slam dunk for the administration. On a four-to-three vote the council is expected to approve franchising residential garbage collection to a private company. But opponents are not giving up.

Labor groups and nonprofits are hoping to rally enough public support to take the measure out of the city council's hands they are hoping to launch a petition drive on Friday, to put the question of garbage privatization to the voters.

Three city council members who opposed privatization are expected to aid in the petition drive. The city administration claims the $2.5 million a year in franchise fees the privatization will give the city will help the city budget. But opponents say it's simply money laundering. Under state law city departments can't charge more than the service costs, or use the money from garbage fees for anything else. But by franchising the operation the city can use the money for other operations.

Under the plan the city garbage workers would be offered positions with the private company, though at wages.

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