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Report Calls for More Privatization in Redding and Shasta County, CA

Leonard Gilroy
August 25, 2009, 1:44pm

Following up on this July post, city officials in Redding, CA have created a new committee to study the potential privatization of additional city services in light of current fiscal challenges. Today, the Record-Searchlight reports that a community group named Shasta Voices has released a new report—with its partners the Greater Redding Chamber of Commerce, the Shasta Builders' Exchange and the Shasta Association of Realtors—that recommends both the city and Shasta County explore further privatization of public services. According to the report (available here):

The pressure to privatize government services is increasing, creating an environment which behooves public officials to prepare for more privatization activity in the future. Traditional methods of solving budget crises such as tax increases, deep service cuts, or issuing short-term debt have both economic and political pitfalls. The cumulative economic impact of implementing some portion of privatization opportunities is potentially much greater and longer lasting than short-term fixes such as tax increases.

Comprehensive privatization programs offer city and county governments a way to maximize revenue, cut costs, have greater flexibility in solving each problem, and make greater use of private capital for public services and facilities. If governments properly manage the privatization process and carefully monitor the implemented projects, government spending can be held in check and high quality can be achieved.

Governments need to be prepared for this movement and take steps to deal with it as it approaches. Government leaders, administrators, and citizens have a better chance of influencing the movement toward privatization if actions are taken ahead of time, with proper preparation, instead of allowing it to be forced upon them by outside pressures.

The report goes on to list a variety of potential privatization opportunities in Redding and Shasta County:

  • Garbage/Waste Management/Recycling (City)
  • Vehicle Maintenance (City/County)
  • Airports
  • Engineering Departments (City/County)
  • Development Services Functions (City/County)
  • Street Maintenance (City/County)
  • Electric Utility (REU)
  • Redding Convention Center (City)
  • Redding Visitors Bureau (City)
  • City Parks Maintenance
  • Recreation Services
  • Janitorial Services (City/County)
  • Landscape Maintenance
  • Police Department (City)
  • County Jail
  • Sheriff's Department (County)
  • Fire Department (City)
  • Public Works Departments (City/County)
  • GPS Department (City)
  • Animal Control (City/County)
  • Payroll Services (City/County)
  • Administrative Services (City/County)
  • Information Technology Services (City/County)
  • Regulatory Driven Operations (i.e. Water Quality Control)

This report lays some useful groundwork that Redding's new privatization committee can certainly benefit from. And it's certainly refreshing to see support for privatization coming from such prominent local business interests, who clearly seem to understand that smart fiscal stewardship in government is a critical building block to long-term economic sustainability.

» Reason Foundation's Annual Privatization Report 2009
» Reason Foundation's Privatization Research and Commentary


Leonard Gilroy is Director of Government Reform


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