Liberty Should Consider Privatization, Not Tax Increases for Utilities
Liberty, Mo. (Clay County), is considering raising utility fees, aka taxes, on its citizens as part of its 2008 budget. The Kansas City Star has the story here (scroll down to the third story). The kicker here is that nowhere in the article, or from what I can find on their website, do they appear to even be considering selling off and privatizing their water services. The op-ed I wrote here about Kirkwood, in St. Louis County, applies even more to Liberty, as Liberty treats its own water, as well as using its own distribution system.
Liberty does not need to do this. Missouri-American is more than capable of purchasing the water system and serving the needs of the citizens. And with the proposed Liberty rate increase, they can almost certainly do it at a lower cost to the city and its residents, even after you remove the one-time profit of the sale from the equation.
To Liberty’s credit, they do seem to have bid out their trash collection services, which are handled by BFI. Plus, the city has one of the better municipal websites I have visited, so let’s give them props for that, too.