CHULA VISTA, Calif. — A public health emergency is in effect in Chula Vista as it deals with piles of trash not being collected due to a workers’ strike.

The Chula Vista City Council held a special meeting Saturday that was called to address the smelly situation in which the councilmembers voted to ratify the local emergency, giving them more power to get the trash situation under control.

“This is really hurting our city,” Councilmember Jill Galvez said. “It breaks my heart to drive through Chula Vista and to see the mounds of trash that have accumulated.”

The local public health emergency will give the city the power to employ so-called “Self Help,” giving the city ability to bring in outside labor to collect the trash.

“It also gives the city manager the ability to impose fines, should she choose to do so, and so there are penalties written into our contract for each and every day that each and every bin is not picked up in the City of Chula Vista,” Galvez said. “And I’m going to demanding that we start imposing those fines and penalties.”

The meeting comes after 250 Republic Services workers walked off the job last month to strike for better wages, benefits and working conditions.

City councilmembers are urging Republic Services to end the strike.

Mayor Todd Gloria also released a statement giving Republic Services until Monday to reach a deal with its workers before his office starts fining the company and pursuing other escalating actions.

“This is it,” Galvez said. “Pick up this trash get it out of our city and do your job.”

The city declared a local emergency on Wednesday in response. It will remain in effect until Feb. 18.