Community groups will be out in force Monday to tell the San Diego City Council to keep Miramar Landfill under public control.
“Contracting out the landfill is a bad idea for the public interest and the City’s financial health,” said Clare Crawford, CPI Executive Director. “There are just too many risks for taxpayers, our environment and the services every household and business relies on.”
The Council is scheduled to vote at 2 p.m. today on moving forward with Mayor Sanders’ proposal to put the landfill operations up for bidding by private companies. Approval would halt public and council input into crucial details of how the landfill is run, and would trigger a long, expensive and potentially fruitless process.
A coalition of community and environmental groups is urging the Council to just say no. About 100 city residents – from government watchdogs to gardeners to clergy – crowded the last committee meeting to support keeping the landfill public.
In studying the issue for more than a year, CPI has determined the risks far exceed potential gains from putting the landfill through the Mayor’s “managed competition” program.
The city cannot escape legal and financial liability for contractor malfeasance or negligence, which could mean lawsuits or fines from numerous regulatory agencies. The need for strong oversight of private contractors and subcontractors adds to taxpayers’ long-term costs.
Highlighting the risks of contracting out needed services to private companies, it was reported today that the city has paid $1.9 million to settle a lawsuit by a software contractor it fired because of delays and cost overruns.
A CPI op-ed this week noted that the City business office has a dismal track record on setting up relatively simple contracts, increasing doubts about contracting out the complex landfill.
The already costly landfill outsourcing process could continue for many more months, although an Environmental Impact Review hasn’t yet been done and the owner of the land, the Navy, hasn’t approved the plan.