Cities have dabbled for years with privatization, but few have taken the idea as far as Sandy Springs. Since the day it incorporated, Dec. 1, 2005, it has handed off to private enterprise just about every service that can be evaluated through metrics and inked into a contract.
The town does have a conventional police force and fire department, in part because the insurance premiums for a private company providing those services were deemed prohibitively high. But its 911 dispatch center is operated by a private company, iXP, with headquarters in Cranbury, N.J.
NOTHING about Sandy Springs hints that it is one of the country’s purest examples of a contract city. Even those city hall employees betray no sign that they work for a jumble of corporations ..
As a fan of Ronald Reagan and the economist Friedrich Hayek, Mr. Porter came naturally to the notion that Sandy Springs could push “the model” to its nth degree. His philosophical inclinations were formed by a life spent in private enterprise, and cemented by a visit to Weston, Fla., a town that had begun as a series of gated communities.
HOVERING around the debate about privatization is a basic question: What is local government for? ..
Town leaders say .. “A 94 percent vote in favor of incorporation speaks to the broad community support for self-government and a desire to have local dollars remain local.”
The privatized approach saves money, he continues, because corporations hire superior workers and give them better training. Work handled by 15 public employees can be done by 12 privately employed workers, he says: “It’s all about the caliber of employee and the customer focus that comes out of the private sector.”