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Mayor Releases List of At-Risk City Services

San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders has released the list of the first city services that might be turned over to competitors from the private sector. KPBS reporter Alison St John has more.

Sanders proposes to allow the private sector to bid on work done by about 300 city employees, including street-sweeping, and maintaining storm drains and sidewalks. Trash pick up would also be open to managed competition, but rather than privatizing the whole department, the mayor plans to start with one-fifth of the city’s trash services. That way, if the contract does not go well, city crew can always “pick up” the work again.

Private contractors must be able to show they can do the job at least 10 percent cheaper than the city. The city's cost of providing workers with health care is not included in the comparison, so a private bidder won’t be able to undercut the city simply by cutting health care.

If the city council agrees the mayor’s plan includes enough safeguards to protect the public interest, private companies could be picking up some city trash by next summer.

Alison St John, KPBS News.

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