Fresno mayor's solid waste plan hits hurdle

FRESNO, Calif.

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The county clerk's office verified enough signatures needed to hold a special election. Close to 40,000 signatures were turned in last month from opponents of trash privatization.

The Fresno County Clerk's Office verified more than 27,000 of those signatures. That's enough to delay the implementation of the franchise with Mid-Valley Disposal and hold a special election to let the people decide.

Mayor Ashley Swearengin was visibly upset afterwards, saying she was disappointed with the outcome. She says because of the delay in the switchover, dozens of layoffs are coming in the next two weeks to keep the city financially afloat.

Swearengin said, "We will have to do further layoffs and keep police officers off the streets, look at closing fire stations and other draconian cuts should the franchise ultimately not be approved by the voters."

Marina Magdaleno added, "It is a big step for us but it is a bittersweet feeling because we know the city is having some financial problems."

In two weeks, the city council must decide whether to repeal their vote to outsource or call a special election, which could cost up to $1 million.

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