San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said he will release a legal argument Friday that would clear the way for the city to privatize trash collection, allowing it to recoup the $34 million it loses annually on residential trash collection without directly repealing the city’s longstanding ban on trash fees.
The city “would essentially get out of the trash hauling business, selling the business as a going concern and leave trash hauling to the private sector,” Goldsmith said. “The city would not provide trash services to anybody.”
A 90-year-old city law known as “The People’s Ordinance” prohibits the city from charging trash collection fees for single-family homes.
Overturning that ordinance — and instituting a trash tax — is one of the proposals most frequently floated to help solve the city’s financial crisis.
It’s unclear, then, if residents would just be left on their own to cover trash hauling or if they’d be forced to pay whatever company wins the privatization bid. Full details, Goldsmith said, would come Friday but the move would likely require voter approval.
Goldsmith’s proposal comes as Mayor Jerry Sanders pulled out of a comprehensive financial reform effort this week following opposition from an anti-tax coalition. Sanders publicly has discussed privatizing the city’s landfill at Miramar.