Thursday, January 5, 2012

Opinion - Privatization

Opinion by Joe Borrajo – Privatization
The cachet of "privatizing services" is it saves money. Not necessarily true. In the mid 1990s, the City of Dearborn sought to save money by not using city employees to erect Yule-tide decorations on city hall grounds; the city hired a contractor to do the job for $50,000.00. As it turned out, the contractor sent a single worker who supervised the same city employees that weren't suppose to be used for the task of decorating the grounds. The task took a matter of a few days, but $50,000.00 could pay the salary of an employee for a year.

Besides the money proposition, "privatization" also raises the question of the quality of services rendered. The process of out-sourcing responsibilities can lead to the problem of inferior work requiring remedial effort that translates into cost-overruns, left for the taxpayer to cover. Likewise, communities can be expected to accommodate "privatization's" development with a costly infrastructure and upgrading that explicitly serves the recipient of the community's asset with little return to the taxpayer.

Furthermore, the subject of "privatization" rarely broaches the matter of community/taxpayer "assets". Putting valuable assets, a measure of the wealth and value of a community, into the hands of corporation developers and speculators is a forfeiture that weakens the very foundation of a community, leaving it open to having the quality of life negatively impacted. "Privatization" can leave a mark comparable to what the problematic issue of "eminent domain" has done to injure stable residential communities.

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