Meet Oliver Porter,The Father of Cities

Don’t miss this profile of a modern day founding father–Oliver Porter–in yesterday’s Atlanta Journal Constitution. Oliver was one of the primary architects of the new city of Sandy Springs–the first new city in Georgia in 50 years, and the state’s first contract city (only a handful of city employees, with all non-safety services contracted out to a private sector provider). Sandy Springs’ incorporation in 2005 spawned three more new cities–John’s Creek, Milton, Chatahoochie Hill Country, all run on essentially the same model as Sandy Springs–and Oliver is currently helping in the effort get the new city of Dunwoody (directly adjacent to Sandy Springs in Dekalb County) up and running. If the Dunwoody effort is successful, then over 200,000 taxpayers in Fulton and Dekalb Counties will be benefitting from higher quality services delivered at a far lower costs through municipal privatization. This provides a great model for existing cities and counties, which should seriously consider the merits of contracting out for the bulk of, or at least large bundles of, government services. Here’s Oliver in his own words:

“I’m in favor of bringing local government as close to the people as you can,” he said. “In a huge local county [like Fulton and DeKalb], the services have moved too far away from the people. A community of over 40,000 people [like Dunwoody] is certainly able to support local government.” Dunwoody cityhood critics suggest that to pay for services, residents will have to bear higher taxes. Porter doesn’t buy it. “At least at this point, I’m quite confident Dunwoody can be started without tax increases,” he said. More to the point, a city of Dunwoody would offer “a superior model of local government tailored to Dunwoody’s needs,” he said.

More on Oliver and Sandy Springs here, here, and here. And Reason’s privatization polcy work is here.