Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin has instructed Mark Scott, the City Manager, to produce a plan for another round of layoffs to keep the city solvent after a push to privatize garbage collection was successfully stalled by the plan’s opponents. The City had relied upon $1.5 million in cash plus ongoing payments of $200,000 to balance its budget for the rest of the year.
Over the next two weeks, Scott will come up with the plan that will be the eighth round of layoffs for the City since the economy soured. Already, the City has shed 900 jobs as it overcame a cumulative budget shortfall of $120 million.
“Now that we know the franchise could be delayed as long as another four months, the City Manager has directed the staff to come up with an even deeper layoff plan to try to get us through the end of the fiscal year,” said Swearengin.
The planned privatization of garbage collection services faced fierce opposition from the Stationary Engineers Local 39. The union collected 27,000 signatures from Fresno residents, more than the 21,828 required to send the issue back to the City Council for a possible ballot referendum.
The City had already approved a deal with Mid Valley Disposal, which was set to begin on March 4.
Outsourcing was one of two central points to Swearengin’s plan to stabilize finances in the struggling city. The other was to secure concessions from employee organizations.
Fresno has already successfully outsourced commercial garbage collection. This effort would have impacted residential collections.