San Diego, CA Considers Sale of Its Giant Landfill

Date: July 8, 2010

Source: News Room

San Diego, CA is considering the sale of its 3,400 ton-per-day Miramar Landfill, marking the city's complete exit from the landfill business. "By seeking proposals, we're simply doing what any smart government agency or private business would do: We're exploring our options," Mayor Jerry Sanders said in a statement. Faced with a budget deficit of $72 million, the city has had to consider many measures including tax increases, decreased retiree benefits, and selling its landfill that it has operated since 1959, in order to focus on core services such as police, firefighting, parks, libraries and street repairs. The latest proposal takes a page from San Diego County's sale of its financially troubled garbage system in 1997 to Allied Waste, which paid $180 million in what was hailed as one of the biggest privatizations in waste industry history. Many municipalities across the country have conceded that the private sector in general, has an advantage in operating landfills through their ability to better direct waste more efficiently via a network of owned collection and transfer operations that span entire regions rather than municipal boundaries.


Mayor Invites Private Proposals on Miramar Landfill

Mayor says city will explore getting out of the landfill business

Mayor Jerry Sanders said he will explore getting the city out of the landfill business so it can concentrate on core services such police, firefighting, parks, libraries and street repairs. The mayor will invite the private sector to submit proposals for taking over the Miramar landfill, which the city has operated since 1959.

"By seeking proposals, we're simply doing what any smart government agency or private business would do: We're exploring our options," Sanders said.

The City Council will have final say on whether to accept a particular proposal. In addition to City Council approval, state labor laws will require appropriate meet and confer with labor unions.

City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said selling the landfill "is not outsourcing where the City would contract with a private firm to operate the landfill for the City."

"Unlike outsourcing, the intent is to sell our assets, relinquish control and completely get out of the landfill business," Goldsmith said. "If a transaction occurs, I expect it would be similar to San Diego County's innovative sale of its landfills in 1997."

PRESS RELEASE from San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation

San Diego Regional EDC Supports Mayor Sanders' Landfill Initiative

The San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation (EDC) applauded Mayor Sanders' announcement today that he intends to get the City of San Diego out of the landfill business and encouraged the City Council to support the Mayor's initiative.

"The landfill is an under-utilized asset that, if put into private hands, can be expanded into a full-service operation and provide an on-going stream of revenue to the City of San Diego," said Julie Meier Wright, President & CEO of the EDC.

She noted that operating a landfill is not a core service of the City and likely can be done more efficiently and at lower cost.

"I am confident that the City will receive one or more very competitive proposals to operate the landfill, and I encourage the City Council -- which has supported the Mayor in other important deficit-reduction efforts -- and the City's labor unions to unanimously support this very smart initiative," said Wright.

EDC is supported by more than 150 of San Diego's largest companies and most influential business leaders. The group strengthens San Diego's business climate and maximizes its economic success through two key programs, business development and policy. The business development program supports corporate outreach and retention, while nurturing emerging industries and attracting new corporate investment through targeted marketing initiatives. The policy program focuses on creating a competitive business climate for the region through workforce development initiatives and building the infrastructure to support 21st century industries.

For more information, contact:
Joy Malaise
Executive Assistant to the CEO
office (619) 234-8484
direct (619) 615-2958
Email Contact

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