Mayor Swearengin: Council Majority Now Supports Commercial Solid Waste Franchise

Mayor Calls on City Employees to Accept Wage Concessions

Calling it an “important development” in helping the City address its budget challenges, Mayor Ashley Swearengin today said a proposal to establish a commercial solid waste franchise likely will move forward since, based on previous council votes, a majority of Fresno City Council now appears to support creation of the franchise.

Mayor Swearengin proposed the commercial solid waste franchise to help address a potential $18.5 million shortfall in the fiscal year 2012 budget, which begins July 1. Under the proposal, the city would receive $2.5 million annually during the 10-year life of the contract, and private operators would hire all the displaced City commercial solid waste drivers and guarantee their jobs for 12 months.

“This is an important development in helping us address our budget challenges,” Mayor Swearengin said at a City Hall news conference, where she was joined by Council President Lee Brand and a number of business leaders. “Creating the franchise keeps the rates the same or lower for our commercial customers, provides jobs for affected city workers, and provides revenue for the most critical city services every year for the next 10 years – services like police officers, firefighters, parks maintenance and operations, and public works.”

Mayor Swearengin said councilmember Clinton Olivier late last week informed her and Council President Brand that he would support creation of the franchise, providing the fourth vote for the proposal from the seven-member Council, based on previous council votes on the issue.

“I applaud Councilmember Olivier for re-evaluating this issue and working with Council President Brand and my administration in making this contract even better for ratepayers,” Mayor Swearengin said.

Mayor Swearengin said Council must take five separate actions to implement the franchise, beginning when Council considers approving development of the final contracts for the franchise at its Thursday, June 16, meeting. Final contracts will be brought back for Council approval in approximately 45 days, and the franchise is expected to be created by Oct. 1 as planned in the Mayor’s proposed budget. The franchise is expected to generate $1.9 million for the City’s General Fund in fiscal year 2012 because its implementation will take place three months into the fiscal year.

With the franchise issue resolved, Mayor Swearengin renewed her call for City employees to accept a 3 percent across-the-board salary concession, the second major element in her recommended plan for balancing the fiscal year 2012 budget.

“With the franchise in place and with the 3 percent concessions we have requested, the City’s budget will be balanced with very few layoffs being required in the next fiscal year,” Mayor Swearengin said. “We believe it’s worth it for our bargaining units to cooperate with the Administration and Council to save public services and save as many jobs as possible.”

Watch Press Conference