Sunday, July 29, 2007

The City Where Almost Everything Is Private

To those who say it can't be done

The City Where Almost Everything Is Private

Two years ago we reported that Sandy Springs, a new Georgia city just outside
of Atlanta, was trying a bold new experiment: turning over the provision of
almost every traditional government service to the private sector.

So how's that working? Remarkably well, according to Reason Foundation director
of government reform Geoffrey F. Segal.

Writing in Tampa Tribune, Segal says:

"The experiment in Sandy Springs, has proved that local governments don't need
hundreds of public employees to function. Sandy Springs, a fast-growing town of
more than 80,000 residents, has only four public employees who are not involved
with public safety. Except for police and fire, virtually every government
function has been contracted out."

Segal continues, "In its two years under private management, Sandy Springs
hasn't needed a tax hike or a fee increase, the government has become more
responsive, the service quality has improved, and so has customer satisfaction.
The residents love it.

"In fact, this model has worked so well that two other Atlanta-area communities
adopted it last year, and several others are considering a similar approach."

This is a remarkable and revolutionary step. There's nothing special about
Sandy Springs -- except the wisdom to realize that government isn't needed to
provide most, if any, services. (Indeed, we look for the day when governments
abandon outsourcing, too, and just let the private sector provide services
without government involvement at all.)

Let's hope Sandy Springs becomes a model for the rest of the nation.

"Georgia City Shows Florida How To Cut Costs," Geoffrey F. Segal
Tampa Tribune, June 19, 2007

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