Giant Disappointment for Kansas City
A City Council committee in Kansas City has tabled (aka, killed) a proposal that called for simply studying the idea of contracting out the management of certain city assets. Like almost every major city, Kansas City is facing long-run budgetary difficulties. To give one, large, specific local example, Kansas City has a signed agreement with the federal government to invest $2.4 billion in its sewer system over the next 25 years.
Mayor Mark Funkhouser courageously proposed merely looking at the possibility of contracting out city services. Much of this proposal followed up on work he did as Kansas City’s auditor. Not surprisingly, city unions went ballistic, because it’s well known that taxpayers now work to support government employees, not the other way around.
I hope that Kansas City reconsiders this rejection — and that St. Louis embraces the potential — of contracting or privatizing city services while they still can do it from a position of strength. Eventually, they may be forced to do it because of economic realities, and then they won’t be in a position to get the best agreement for taxpayers.