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Fresno trash workers offer concessions

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Workers from the city's Commercial solid waste division rallied outside City Hall, and inside, told the City Council they can increase efficiency and lower costs to customers by reducing overtime, going to one man operations and not filling open positions.

Employee Spokesman David Calhoon says it makes the Mayors plan to privatize trash collection a bad idea. "The privatization by far would not pay off. For what we're offering this is a huge benefit to the residents and the businesses here in the Valley."

In January, by a one vote margin, the City Council rejected privatizing the garbage service. The jobs of the workers was a primary concern. But two weeks ago after Mayor Ashley Swearengin announced the private companies would hire all the affected trash workers for one year, the deal was suddenly up for reconsideration. But with the latest developments City Council Member Blong Xiong believes the concessions make privatization even less attractive. "If we are looking for efficiencies for our residents and savings for our residents then apparently, we got what we want."

Employees believe they would trim from $3 to $5 million in costs. City Management is doing its own calculations. Under the law any savings must go back to ratepayers. The Mayor wants to get around that by selling off the commercial solid waste division, collecting a franchise fee from the private haulers and using the money, $2 to $3 million for other city departments.

That's why the city is going to keep pushing for that despite these concessions. The City Council is expected to take another vote on the privatization proposal on June 21st.

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Tags:
ashley swearengin, fresno, fresno county, local, gene haagenson
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