The Fresno City Council approved Mayor Sweetening's plan to privatize residential trash collection in the city.
A private company will starting picking up the trash from every home in Fresno 3 months from now.
The council voted 4-3 to approve the plan. Council members Olivier, Borgeas, Westerlund and Brand voted for the plan and Baines, Quintero and Xiong voted against.
The plan to move to privatization came despite strong objections from the city's current garbage truck drivers.
Mayor Swearengin hopes the move will strengthen the city's economy. "The good news is this is an important piece of our budget. I think over all, our budget will hang together this year while we do have other actions that we'll need to take next year. And we've got to get through this short term cash flow crisis that we have. The long term prospects for our city certainly look better, and especially with the franchise in place, I think we're going to make it through."
Union representative Marina Magdaleno tried to convince the council members before they voted Thursday night that privatizing trash service will lead to problems down the road. "I feel it, I know it, that we are going to have problems with this."
Councilman Lee Brand said, "I'm sorry. I don't want to lay anybody off. I don't want anybody to lose their income. But that's the reality we're faced with. These difficult decisions we're making today... These difficult decisions will preserve this city in the future."
After seven public hearings, and three separate city council votes, Mid Valley Disposal will take over the city's trash service in March, 2013.
The current city trash collection drivers are guaranteed a job with the new company for at least a year.
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