Pomona City Council Considers Privatizing Waste Sources

The decision could potentially have a big impact on city workers


Jennifer Quintanilla

The Pomona city council chambers remain empty as meetings continue to be held via Zoom.

The Pomona City Council and Housing Authority met on Zoom on Nov. 1 to discuss and approve a Mills Act contract for multiple properties located in the city. The resolution stated this was needed for properties to maintain continuous upkeep and restoration.

An increase of $154,140 was also raised for Pomona from the Los Angeles County Flood Control District Safe Clean Water program to be used in the city’s water program. The measure formerly known as Measure W, now known as the Safe Clean Water program, was approved in November 2018 by voters to improve water quality and increase water supply.

This measure’s funding allocation was adjusted for the 2021-2022 fiscal year in an effort to continue designing the Pedley Spreading Ground-Pond Enhancement, a project aimed to capture and treat local runoff by enhancing the stormwater recharge in order to increase water supply for the city.

During council discussions, council members brought forward a report about the city’s solid waste study.

After conferring with the City Council’s Solid Waste Subcommittee, the city adopted a process of integrity standards, which aims to prohibit an applicant and its representatives from having any contact with the city council whether it be by phone, email or in person. The city also listed that any campaign donations given be under $250.

Council also discussed a cost of service fee study conducted by the R3 Consulting Group. The studies found that in 2020 insufficient resources, such as a lack of investments, are having an impact on the Public Works Department, Fleet and Revenue Management Division’s operations.

At the time of the study, R3 found that an increase of 14% would be required to address the projected 4% shortfall for the budget funding year of 2020-2021. This increase would be necessary to fund a new residential collection fleet and container replacement as well as additional staffing requirements.

The R3 Consulting Group also recommended privatizing residential collection services and to combine them with the contracted commercial services once the current residential contracts ends. The consultant firm said this would provide the city with the best opportunity for a solid waste system, but noted that this potential outsourcing of waste will have an impact on employees. In cutting costs, 26 full-time positions and 11 part-time positions would be eliminated.

Other impacts include the costs of waste truck maintenance and repair, dumping fees, uniform maintenance, and hazardous materials compliance including other charges estimated to be around $6,343,521. If outsourcing occurs, the cost of personnel expenditures to dematerialize would be estimated at $2,683,267.

“Here in the city of Pomona we really appreciate that our employees benefit from being city employees and as we transition we don’t want to see them suffer,” council member Nora Garcia said. “We want to make sure they remain whole and if possible more than whole.”

While the city has not yet voted on a resolution to approve privatizing residential collection services with discussions expected to continue, the city council has outlined potential outcomes for affected employees.

Discussions between the city and employees will be held regarding the potential outsourcing and its impacts and a 100% sick leave pay-out for any employee displaced by outsourcing. Employees will also have an opportunity to work with the new contractors or offered new employment with a different contractor.

The city council will hold its next full meeting on Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. on Zoom.