Mayor Sanders prepares open bidding on select city services

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Street sweeping, road and sidewalk maintenance and bill-collecting for public utilities are among the next city services that could be privatized, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders said Thursday.

The city is already preparing to bid out its printing and fleet management divisions in the next couple of months.

“We don't know yet how much money we can save with this latest initiative, but we owe it to our citizens to see if we can cut our costs — and if so, by how much,” Sanders said at a news conference.

Street sweeping has a $4.5 million budget and 32 full-time employees, Sanders said. He said that road and sidewalk maintenance was budgeted for $14.3 million, with 102 full-time workers.

The Public Utilities Department is “a bit of a different animal” because it is funded through water and sewer bills to city residents, not the general fund, Sanders said.

The mayor said that putting the department out to bid will not save money for the general fund, but lower bills for ratepayers, who have seen costs skyrocket in recent years — mainly because of rate increases by wholesalers before water reaches San Diego.

He said he hopes to invite bids for the three areas by November.

Considerable preparatory work is necessary, including a market study to see if there are enough private firms available to make bids.

Categories: KUSI