Rethink how city services are delivered

Dan Reinhard

Minot

My, oh my, what is happening in city hall? Just late last night, I finished reading Thomas Paine’s pamphlet: “Common Sense” that was written in his original dialect – in the grammatical style from the 18th century. Truly amazing how much our language has changed from then till now, as well as the perceptions of what a government should provide.

I can say positively that our language has changed immensely, possibly less cumbersome, but I certainly cannot say the same about our government; at local, state or federal level.

So maybe we should attempt to focus on what we can improve at our local level (I’ve listened long enough to Bob Marley’s song: “I Shot the Sherriff, but I did not shoot the Deputy…”). Without attempting to rehash every sordid detail that happened in recent past within our city council, I’d rather we explored better solutions for the myriad of services that we ask our local government to provide. Yes, I am conservative and believe government should be as small as possible because nothing about a government program is efficient. That’s an oxymoron for government and efficiency.

1.) To begin, let’s start with trash collection. I have my trash collected by a local company for nearly 25 years with insignificant complaint. The price is reasonable and the work always gets done. If not, there is another company I could hire. Let’s turn this expensive process over to a private contractor; even more than one. I don’t know how many tax dollars have been invested in our trash collection system so far, but complete analysis will probably show way too much.

2.) Next we should address snow removal. Most people would be completely amazed if they knew the price of a road grader, plow trucks and loaders. A private contractor would be using that equipment year round for more than snow removal, in other construction projects as well, keeping the price down. That allows the city to save enormous amounts on maintenance, storage and operators.

3.) The airport is an essential instrumentality to our city and the surrounding area. I believe it should be operated by private contract. This suggestion would probably bring outrage from local government officials, but I believe it can be run more efficiently without degrading service.

4.) Parks and Recreation could also benefit with private contract due to cost of equipment and personnel.

I don’t know how many services our county and city governments provide, probably near 50 or so. I do not believe that police forces, fire departments or other emergency first responders should be privatized, but there are many others that could be. The most difficult part is writing the contract, agreeing on price and providing competent overseers with impeccable integrity. Might even keep taxes down.

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