The City of Fresno
hopes to roll out a new private trash service by next March, affecting 110,000 customers and their trash collectors, who worry about rate increases and a drop in quality of service.
The city hopes to charge the new waste company franchise fees that would generate about $2.5 million a year…eventually saving the city $30 million.
Tony Cruz, a city trash collector for 26 years has been through changes, but none as drastic as this.
“Everybody was in shock. You can hear a pin drop when we got the news,” Cruz said.
Last week, as the city reached a $230 million budget agreement, Cruz and his fellow workers realized their jobs could be on the chopping block.
“The privates… they're more on the profit side rather than deliver a service,” Cruz said referring to private trash collectors.
Mayor Ashley Swearengin addressed the issue at a closed meeting Monday with Homeowners Associations. She maintains an independent trash hauler will keep rates as is, and dozens of workers could be rehired.
“What we did with the commercial haulers is, we required all those drivers to be hired by the private haulers. So we can put a similar type of requirement in place,” Swearengin said.
Marina Magdaleno is the union representative for the trash collectors. She says 177 jobs could be on the line.
“How does she know they're gonna hire them unless they're already going to cut a backroom deal?” Magdaleno questioned.
City leaders maintain they haven’t put out any bids to waste companies. But they’ve been in heated talks to close a $4 million budget hole through concessions with the police union… which the city rejected last week.
“I don't trust them; they started off in this fiscal emergency, looking at filing bankruptcy…” Magdaleno said.
Adding to Fresno’s financial woes is the city credit rating, which was downgraded again Monday.
The city has a survey online That allows resident to with in on the plan to privatize. Click the related link to take the online survey.