Oak Creek took a step toward privatizing trash pick-up after a unanimous Common Council vote to solicit bids from outside companies.
The city projects privatization would result in a net savings of about $16,000. Aldermen said it was important to cut costs where they could, as the city's financial situation is unlikely to drastically improve anytime soon.
"We have to look at more situations like this and look at where we can - I'm not saying in all departments - but where we can privatize," Alderman Dan Jakubczyk said.
However, privatization could also affect snow-plowing operations, as the Street Department would lose about two-thirds of a full-time-equivalent employee.
Aldermen batted around ideas about how the city could supplement help during a major blizzard and will likely continue to do so as the process for seeking bids moves along.
A final decision on privatization might come as late as November, when the 2012 budget is approved.
Street Superintendent Mike Lampe acknowledged the department's employees aren't happy about the proposal but may have little choice but to adapt.
"It is a union shop and of course they're not going to be in favor of losing any employees," Lampe said. "Even I can say I’m not happy with changes but we all have to live with them.
"We realize that we do have money issues and we need to do something to rectify the problem."