County should turn to private providers
July 30, 2010 · Updated 2:06 PM
Island County’s Proposition 1, “For retention of basic public safety,” sounds like a threat: Give us more money or we’ll let the criminals run loose.
Will they fire sheriff’s deputies to fund septic tank police?
The commissioners’ statement and the public forum presentations emphasize the “dire” and “catastrophic” consequences of further cuts, mixing fear-mongering with whining: as if only county government can supply services.
The commissioners have not considered the cost reduction and efficiency measures of community-provided services. For several decades, other jurisdictions around the country have successfully encouraged their communities’ private resources. Competitive pressures introduce incentives to increase quality and to reduce costs. The 5 percent to 20 percent average cost savings that other jurisdictions have achieved would mean a savings of $3.4 million (using the 5 percent amount) for Island County.
That’s more than enough to cover the projected $2 million shortfall. The sheriff could even hire a few more deputies!
In addition, the private providers often pay taxes instead of consume them. Revenues could increase in response to a friendlier business environment.
Support your local economy. Vote no on Proposition 1.