Some of the "biggest issues facing Fresno" were on the city council agenday Thursday. It was almost Friday before they were settled.
The plan to privatize residential trash service has been dividing the city for years. The third and final vote approved the contract with Mid-Valley Disposal, again by a vote of 4 - 3.
Empty seats were hard to find in the council chamber. Nearly everyone filling them addressed city leaders.
Mayor Ashley Swearengin and many councilmembers were harshly criticized, and at times plainly insulted, by people opposed to the shift in service. When public comments closed, strong words were volleyed back to the audience.
Things turned ugly around 11 o'clock. Larry Westerlund tried to explain how difficult of a decision this is for city leaders, until he was shouted down by members of the audience.
In the end, those words were heard but not heeded. Mid-Valley takes over next year.
The move creates an extra $2.5 million in revenue for the city. Much of the savings will come from paycuts to waste management employees.
The company is promising no layoffs and rate cuts for the first year. After that, language in the contract does not set many limitations.