The concept of privatization of solid waste collection services is nothing new. This change from using government employees to contracting with a private company for solid waste collection services has been a continuing trend for the past 50 years. The move to privatization is usually driven by the desire for cost savings.
The past couple of years have seen a dramatic change in the finances available to government to provide for needed services. The 2010 State of America’s Cities survey of local elected officials’ finds:
- Seventy-five percent of city officials report that overall economic and fiscal conditions have worsened over the past year.
- Eighty-four percent of city officials report that unemployment has worsened over the past year and nearly nine in 10 say it is either a major (41 percent) or moderate (47 percent) problem for their community.
- More than 6 in 10 (63 percent) of city officials report that poverty has worsened over the past year; representing the largest percentage of city officials reporting worsened poverty conditions since the question was first asked in National League of Cities 1992 survey.
- To deal with the fiscal implications of these and other economic conditions, 7 in 10 city officials report making cuts to personnel (71 percent) and delaying or cancelling capital projects.
- One in two (52 percent) city officials report that service levels will continue to decrease next year if city tax rates and fees are not increased.
When asked how overall economic and fiscal conditions have changed in their community over the past year, three in four city officials (75 percent) report that they have worsened (see Figure 1, page 40). From employment to the stability of the housing market, signs of growth that may be making their way into the national picture are not yet evident in many local economies across the country. City and county elected officials are faced with shortfalls in tax revenues and are searching for ways to save money without reducing service availability and quality.