You've probably seen the petition sites around town. Mayor Swearengin said she just learned professional recruiters are helping gather signatures.
“When I heard that I've got to make sure people understand what the consequences are of this franchise not going forward,” said Mayor Swearengin.
President of the Fresno City Employees Association, Dee Barnes said they hired extra help because a month to gather signatures just isn't a lot of time.
“They purposely did this during the holidays. They approved this on the 20th, so the clock starts when the council approves it,” said Barnes.
Mayor Swearengin said if this makes it to the ballot, she'll have to immediately start cutting important city jobs.
“We need to evaluate which fire stations need to be closed if we don't see this revenue coming in this year,” said the mayor.
She said every employee impacted by the solid waste division has a job to go to, unlike what could happen in the future if city jobs are cut.
“There's no guarantee that they will continue to make that after one year and there is no guarantee that they'll have a job after one year,” said Barnes.
Mayor Swearengin said garbage rates will go down with the private hauler.
“And a lot of people are being told that's not true, but they're simply false in saying that. Garbage rates go down and they stay down by contract,” said the mayor.
Barnes says rates will go down initially, but be raised in the next few years.
If a special election is held, it could cost the city up to one million dollars.