Wednesday, October 20, 2010
San Diego is looking into whether it can privatize the Miramar Landfill to save money. But the city’s already spent half a million dollars on the deal. The mayor’s office believes it was money well spent.
SAN DIEGO San Diego is looking into whether it can privatize the Miramar Landfill to save money. But the city’s already spent half a million dollars on the deal. The mayor’s office believes it was money well spent.
The city council has voted to spend another $250,000 in fees to look into whether outsourcing the operations of Miramar makes sense. That brings the total amount spent on consultants so far to $500,000.
The San Diego Union Tribune has reported on the deal. Alex Roth is with the mayor’s office. He says money spent now could protect San Diego in the future.
“You want to make sure you have the best legal advice on your side. So that if we do do this deal, that ten years from now, 15 years from now we don’t get some unwanted surprise, some legal challenge that we didn’t foresee,” he said. “This is the cost of doing business.”
Roth says outsourcing Miramar would be extremely complicated. Critics of the outsourcing process say San Diego has underestimated how much it will cost to move some city services over to the private sector.
Murtaza Baxamusa is with the Center on Policy Initiatives. He said he doesn’t have a problem with the law firm. But he said San Diego’s spending a lot of money just to see if outsourcing services is worth it.
“This is an expensive process and this is once again a no-bid contract. It’s meant to cut expenses but is becoming an expensive exercise in itself,” he said.
Baxamusa says San Diego is underestimating how much it costs to move public services over to the private sector. The city council recently approved a managed competition guide. That’s the first step toward possibly outsourcing different city services.