CHULA VISTA, Calif. — The City of Chula Vista is declaring a State of Public Health Emergency. The decision comes after Tuesday night’s council meeting where sanitation workers and Republic Services clashed about ending the strike.
This declaration allows Chula Vista to invoke a Self-Help clause in its contract with Republic. Meaning now the city can do whatever it can to get rid of the trash.
After a closed-door session at the end of Tuesday’s council meeting, the City of Chula Vista says it will declare a state of public health emergency because of the sanitation strike.
“Right now, we’re beginning to see a vector issue with rats and vermin and crows attacking trash bags. It’s absolutely unacceptable,” said Jill Galvez, Chula Vista Councilmember, Dist. 2.
Councilmember Jill Galvez said because Republic Services has failed to fulfill its obligation to pick up the trash, the city will now put its own measures in place for the health and safety of its residents.
“Today city staff started working on that, our park rangers, our public works dept. Tomorrow, we’ll start bringing onboard other partners and friends,” Galvez said.
Galvez says the city crews will remove trash that has accumulated around the trash bins and Republic will be responsible for picking up the rest. The Work for Hope team, which are unsheltered individuals employed by the city for special projects, and the Alpha Project, will also help with the trash cleanup.
“Republic has a million-dollar bond that we can charge against. We also, I hope we’re able to backdate penalties, and fines and fees assessed for non-compliance to our contract,” Galvez said.
Multi-family housing apartment complexes will be the highest priority for city crews because so much more waste has accumulated at those locations. Galvez said Republic will assess reimbursing customer fees for the month of December and possibly January, after the strike is over.
The public health emergency is expected to be ratified at next Tuesday’s council meeting. An email address and call center will also be set up for customers to call for help with picking up trash.
WATCH RELATED: Chula Vista Mayor on sanitation strike: 'They have wages that are not sustainable in San Diego