Several petition sites are up around the city. Union members and citizens campaigned in front of City Hall Thursday morning. They're upset that the city voted to outsource residential trash service to save money. Some citizens are concerned about costs and service.
“They're supposed to be guaranteed to be kept low for two years, but after that when they need new trucks and they're not putting away enough funds for that, they'll come to us,” said Rhea Rehark-Griffith.
The city says citizens will save money. A 17.6% reduction at first, followed by increases that can only go up by 2% in future years. Petitioners are calling it a trash scam.
“So, the way that the city is proposing this...now you're gonna pay for the trash bill but at the top of that…15% is then going to go to the city as a franchise fee. Well, that's a tax,” said union representative, Marina Magdaleno.
The city says they're not hiding anything and the 2 1/2 million dollars a year from the franchise fee will go into the general fund to address the budget issue.
“It gets old to hear comments like trash scam and hidden taxes and secret meetings. These things just aren't true,” said City Manager, Mark Scott.
Under the plan, 150 city workers will have an option to work with for the new private company.
“I don't like having to displace good, loyal employees but it's a better alternative than sending other people to unemployment,” said Scott.
Although the employees are guaranteed a job with the private hauler, Mid Valley, the union says salary and health care cuts are expected.