Two Moves Forward on Privatization and Consolidation
Larry Williams, treasurer of St. Louis city, is moving ahead with outsourcing of parking meter maintenance and collections. Thanks to the St. Louis Business Journal for its story about this. As I understand it, this is different from the fiasco in Chicago, because the city is maintaining all the police powers that come with enforcement, etc. This new St. Louis plan is really more “outsourcing” than “privatization,” which I think is good. Regular readers might remember that I usually don’t support full privatization when it comes to areas involving the police powers of the state.
In Kansas City, the Star reports that the city is going forward with its support of a regional jail. Cities and counties sharing services to get the best value for taxpayers is always good government. I’ll remind readers once again that the idea of a regional jail has worked very well in St. Louis County. It is interesting that a private jail placed a bid on housing the prisoners, but I think the city council has a valid point that it’s important to keep the detainees — many of whom are likely serving short sentences — near their families. It’s great that the private operators were allowed to make a bid, though. That in and of itself is important. However, the city is still going to save a large amount of money by using the Jackson County facility:
City officials say they also support the move to save $1 million in the upcoming city budget and avoid millions more in capital expenses to upgrade the aging MCI.
Good news for taxpayers on both sides of the state.