NewsCovering Kern County


Council selects cleaning services, security for downtown area

Posted at 12:49 AM, Sep 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-26 11:38:46-04

BAKERSFIELD,Calif. — UPDATE: The Bakersfield City Council is continuing its 3-point approach to address homelessness. Members voted on measures that add security and help to clean up what some homeless individuals leave behind.

The council agreed Wednesday to hire Asela Environmental Inc. for waste clean up services in downtown and Old Town Kern. The company will be paid $90,000 by the city to provide clean up services four hours a day, five days a week.

The council also approved an agreement with Trans-West Security Services to provide a high-visibility security presence and patrols in areas most impacted by property crimes and quality of life issues seven days a week.

The council also approved a contribution to the homeless collaborative in the amount of $155,000.

All of these items are funded by money raised through the Measure N tax.

Staff anticipates more information on a low-barrier homeless shelter location to be presented to the city council at the October 23rd meeting.

The growing homeless crisis is once again on the Bakersfield City Council agenda on Wednesday. Bakersfield City Council is scheduled to vote Wednesday on a proposal to contract with a private cleaning company.

Those items include environmental hazards and human waste left behind by homeless individuals.

"We want to make sure the downtown area is clean not only for businesses but for anyone coming to those businesses," said Joe Conroy, public information officer for Bakersfield City.

The city received two bids from two private contractors. The staff is recommending the approval from the council to move forward with Asela Environmental for a little over $90,000.

"The $90,000 bid will be for services for four hours each, five days a week and mostly focus on downtown Bakersfield and Old Town Kern," Conroy said.

There are currently a handful of other cleanup groups that focus on the downtown area.

Those groups include the Bakersfield Homeless Centers 'Street Ambassadors' program, which consists of homeless individuals, and the Bakersfield Downtown Business Associations, Block Captains.

Cathy Butler, secretary of the Downtown Bakersfield Business Association, shares that she and other groups are hoping to work with the city and divide downtown to ensure all areas are receiving cleanup.

"Once they pass this we are hoping the city will work with us on areas that we all are addressing and once this pass it will be in addition to what we have going on," Butler said.

The Bakersfield Homeless Center was hoping to be the direct partner for the city clean up service, but according to city officials, professional cleaning services are now needed.

"The main concern was that we wanted someone who was certified to handle this type of cleanup," Conroy said. "We don’t want people who haven’t been trained to handle human waste or hazardous material because that can get other people sick."

23ABC reached out to the Bakersfield Homeless Center, a spokesperson was not able to talk on the issues on Wednesday.

"The Homeless Center had been working on this and were moving forward, but the city had decided to work with a private company," Butler said. "I know that this may be an issue with some people where we already have a non-profit group working on this."

Funds for the new cleaning service will be paid through Measure 'N'.

"Why is there such an explosion now there has always been an issue," Butler said. "What are these new issues causing this and that is going to be the big question."

City officials tell 23ABC that they are expecting to have a vote tonight and if this passes the cleanup services will be implemented soon.