And Exactly Why Does Springfield Operate All Its Own Utilities?
Springfield is a company town, and that company is City Utilities. Later today, the state auditor will be releasing an audit of CU, as it is known. The News-Leader has the preview. So, yes, I will return to this subject later after I have read the audit, but I find it very interesting that City Utilities still operates all the utilities in Springfield, instead of selling off the assets to a private company decades ago, like most larger cities. How big is CU? From the article:
CU employs 1,030 people and provides electricity, water, natural gas and public transit services to the public. The utility also operates the SpringNet computer network facility and a radio communication system for public agencies.
Electricity, water, gas, and the computer network could easily be managed just as well and probably better by a private utility. And (this is key) Springfield government would make a fortune selling off its assets to that private provider. That windfall could be used to lower taxes, improve services in other areas, and invest in capital projects such as transportation. Even the public transit part could be competitively contracted out, which is different from privatization but similar. Here is an op-ed I wrote on this subject for Kirkwood.
I will return to this issue after I have a chance to read the audit. That is known in the media as a "teaser." Pretty cool, huh?