CHULA VISTA, Calif. — Chula Vista took the next step in tackling its trash woes.
The City Council voted unanimously Saturday night to ratify an emergency public health proclamation the city manager declared Wednesday.
The ratification gives Chula Vista leaders the power to tap into the self-help clause on the contract it has with Republic Services. Councilmember Jill Galvez explained the city can send workers in to pick up trash or other contractors.
"I fully expect that we will begin, immediately, not only supplementing the pickup with city workers but also actively looking for contractors to get the trash off of our streets and out out of our residential neighborhoods immediately," Galvez said.
The declaration allows the city of Chula Vista to use resources other than the contracted company, republic services, to pick up the trash.
So far, city leaders said more than 54,000 pounds of trash have been collected by more than 30 city employees.
On their focus list, is about 500 multi-family complexes.
"We've worked very, very hard to grow a beautiful place where people can raise their families and children can play and seniors can retire," Galvez said. "This buildup of trash has created an unacceptable public health emergency in our city. We are definitely billing Republic Services for every single minute of employee time and partner time that's been invested in picking up this filth that they have neglected to do."
For weeks now, Republic Services Union employees have been striking in hopes of a fair contract, but during this time, a lot of trash has piled up.
As for what's next, Council Member Galvez said all options will be considered if this continues.
Councilmember Padilla informed the council that negotiations will continue Monday morning.
In the meantime, Republic Services has told the city it will pick up some trash.
"Just the black trash cans will be picked up over the coming few days and they will also try to get to the recycling but definitely won't not be picking up yard waste," explained Galvez.
Chula Vista is not the only community impacted by the trash pile-up, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria threatened legal action if the situation isn't handled soon.
With no resolution after weeks of negotiation between Republic Services and its striking workers, my office has given the company until Monday before escalating action to compel the trash hauler to meet their obligations under their franchise agreement. The situation as it stands is unacceptable and a public health and safety threat. I have supported and encouraged compromise. My next steps are fining the company, pursuing their performance bond and asking the City Council for authorization to seek an injunction to force compliance with terms of the agreement, which include weekly pickup and recycling of green and solid waste. Further options are suspension and termination of the franchise.