Cost Effective Alternatives for Delivering Public Services: Case Study Battle Creek
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The City of Battle Creek holds claim to many industrial and residential resources. However, the city faces many difficulties which must be overcome before the city can escape the negative opinions held by many people. Restraining budgets and increasing costs have made must solutions to these problems not feasible. One solution to many cities' problems throughout the United states has been privatization. This alternative delivery system reforms the manner in which the public services are delivered. By allowing the private sector to deliver public services, the service is usually provided at a lower cost and with better quality. The effectiveness of privatization exists in the magic of the free market. Privatization integrates the positive characteristics of a private firm, such as incentive structures and accountability, into the delivery of public services, which results in the incentive to lower cost and improve quality. The stronghold to privatization is maintaining a competitive atmosphere. The best way for city government to insure this competitive atmosphere is with effective contracts. The key to an effective contract is devising one which creates competition within time and space. Privatization has been used by many countries during many periods of time. Privatization may have taken different definitions in these countries, but the basic qualities of the principle applies in every situation. The private sector can participate in the privatization process through several different roles. These roles include "turn key design," joint ventures, "contracting out," and "load shedding". Numerous examples exist of how privatization has been used in various cities throughout the United States to reduce costs, generate revenues, and provide quality services. Opponents to privatization cite common complaints such as the loss of public employees' jobs and the possible risk of placing needed services at the mercy of profit-seeking firms. The economic growth experienced in the United States is a direct result of the intrinsic vitality of the market system, not the growth of government. Privatization embodies every aspect of the free market and therefore could only benefit localities.