Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Reason Saves Cleveland, Part 3 - Privatization

One of the mistakes Cleveland makes is to do a great many things that private industry could, and shoud, do. For example, Cleveland's city employees collect the trash from residences within the corporate limits. If I wanted a private company to do that, I couldn't. It was forbidden by municipal ordinance. Here in Fishers, we have four different companies competing to collect trash, and none of the things I was told would happen in Cleveland have come to pass. My streets are not strewn with trash. I do not have an endless parade of trucks creating traffic, noise, and smell nuisances. We do not have people stocking trash in the backyard in order to avoid to bill. I get a bill for $70 every three months. My property taxes are about a half of what they would be for comparable property in Cleveland. To save $2,000/year as opposed to pay $280? I'll do that trade all day long, every day of the year.

Reason suggests that Cleveland should inspect its services while applying the 'Yellow Pages Test'. That is, if there are commercial enterprises offering services provided by the City, the City should privatize. The gain would be a decrease in the public payroll and legacy costs into the future.

It is no surprise to me that Reason identified trash collection among 10 things Cleveland should privatize.


Wainstead said...

It would probably mean "good bye, West Side Market" if the city sold it off. It would be a sad loss.

Politically, Reason should have left that one alone with so many fat targets draining the city coffers.

Mike Kole said...

I totally disagree, on all fronts!

If the City announced that it planned to sell the Market, I have no doubt whatsoever that there would be property management companies fighting over the property. It isn't that the vendors don't sell plenty of goods. They do, and that would ensure the future viability of it. I would agree if it were like the RTA buses, that are run at an acknowldeged loss because they deem public transportation a worthy item for subsidy. The point here is that this could, and should, be a money maker. If a competent property manager ran it, so it would be.

I think it's a great target politically. It's a place that deserves better treatment than the City gives it. The Market smells bad. Now, you tell me how many grocers can get away with an area that smells bad like the WSM does? No doubt a private buyer would clean the place up in the manner it deserves.

For me, trash collection is the obvious first place. West Side Market? Yeah, do that too.