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Newport Beach looks at outsourcing

Printing will be contracted, council takes a look at contracting refuse collection services.

November 28, 2012|By Jill Cowan

The Newport Beach City Council voted to outsource its printing services and to inch forward in what could eventually be the privatization of its refuse collection services.

The shutting down of the city's in-house print shop in favor of a contract with Office Depot will result in one layoff and is expected to save the city about $70,000 per year, a staff report said. Another print shop employee plans to retire.

Newport's new Civic Center, which is set to host its first council meeting Dec. 11, will not have space for its own print shop. Furthermore, staff reports said, the increasing digitization of city operations has resulted in a steep drop in the number of hard copies produced by the shop, from 5.1 million to 1.8 million per year over the last decade.

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FOR THE RECORD:
An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that the Civic Center is in Corona del Mar. It is in Newport Beach.

While the outsourcing of printing services passed unanimously as an item on the consent calendar, a report on the possibility of outsourcing the city's trash collection services generated considerably more debate.

Newport's Municipal Operations Director Mark Harmon laid out some of the findings of a study conducted by the firm HF&H Consultants, which the city had commissioned to analyze whether it could save money by contracting with a private firm for its trash services.

The study found that outsourcing trash services may result in some savings to the city, but officials pointed out that certain factors specific to Newport, like narrow alleys and residents who enjoy unlimited trash collection, might complicate those savings.

An estimated $1.67 million could be saved per year if the city switched to a private hauler in areas served by the city's in-house trash haulers, the report concluded. Some areas, like Newport Coast, already have private trash collection.

The city, if it keeps its own trash collection service, will also have to buy new trucks to comply with a state air quality rule, which will cost about $2.6 million over three years.

But, Councilman Rush Hill pointed out, the study compared Newport's per-unit costs with those of other SoCal cities that all have automated pick-up, which requires standardized trashbins.

They also require residents to separate out trash, clean recycling and green waste into three different bins.

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