I sat down for coffee last week with Precinct 8 Councilor Doug Mayo to discuss his proposed ordinance regarding privatization of municipal services such as garbage and recycling collection and disposal.

The proposed ordinance, which is currently still with the Appointments & Ordinances Committee of the City Council, does not aim to prevent the privatization of municipal services outright. Rather, according to Mayo, it attempts to level the playing field for both public and private service providers. If a private vendor wants to bid on a contract to provide a service like trash collection, the ordinance would require them to show that they can provide service that is at least as good as what the town provides without paying its employees less than municipal employees would make.

Mayo comes to this discussion from a long history of public service work and has found himself on both sides of the privitization line over the years. We also talked about previous Councils’ unwillingness to pay for even the basic upkeep of municipal infrastructure, and how those decisions have led to both a pile of outdated equipment and systems, as well as a general lack of understanding in town of what it takes to provide the basic services we have come to expect.

It was a good conversation, and I encourage folks to reach out to Doug if you have questions about the privatization discussion.