The Municipal Privatization in USA
Keywords:municipal privatization, costs, job places, municipal services, public utilities management.
Competitive contracting is the most common form of municipal privatization and has been growing in USA
since the 1970s regardless of the political affiliation of elected officials. Between 1982 and 1992 contracting
increased by 121 percent in the 596 cities where comparable data were available. The average common municipal
service is contracted out by 27 percent of cities.
Cities privatize first to save money and second to improve services. A summary of nine major, comprehensive
studies covering every contract entered into by the reporting jurisdictions – 7, 168 contracts in all – showed average
savings of 29,5 percent.
Mayor Stephen Goldsmith gained national and international attention for his successful efforts in Indianapolis.
He used public-private competition to bring about large improvements in street repairs, wastewater treatment,
fleet management, solid-waste collection, airport management, golf courses. All in all he put eighty-six services out
to bid, of which city employees won 43 percent – but only by drastically improving their productivity. The number
of employees declined by a third but no union member lost a job, and the city projected cumulative savings of $450